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.)
Well, I really didn’t think Stay Home, Stay Safe would last this long. What has kept my boat afloat are books, communication with my friends and, of course knitting. To keep both oars in the water (I thought I give up sports metaphors for water metaphors) I have relied on color and lots of it. Well, I have finished my amazing (even if I do say so myself) double knitting project and here it is.
This may have been one of my most interesting projects. Just what I needed to keep my mind focused and occupied. This is Wendescal “Neue Galaxies” by Daniela Jutzi. Notice that the title is in German? Well, so was the pattern! I do not speak, read or write German, so how did I do this? I know how to double knit, so all I needed was a chart. This was done from memory of how to double knit and a chart. I am pretty proud of myself. When I bound off at the pink end, a little tear rolled down my face. This has been such a solace for me during this very strange time. It has kept me focused, smiling and excited. I thank Freia and her wonderful Dirty Hippy colorway and Daniela for her breathtaking pattern. They were just what the Dr ordered for me.
Lydia always makes treasures look better. I think it is her basic black attire.
Or maybe it is her model-like physique.
To quote Rod Stewart, “You wear is well.”
Last night Linda and I FaceTimed social knitting. We each are working on the same thing. Do you remember this?
I bought S Curve at the Yarn Barn of Kansas during December of 2018. I loved it as it caught my eye across the room and I still love it. It seems that newer things bumped it out of the queue. When I came home from visiting Linda, I sent her one as a little thank you. Linda mentioned she was going to pick it up so we decided it make it a Knit Along from afar. My colorway is called Rainbow. Are you surprised? My rainbow is made up of 11Mountain Colors Twizzlefoot colors. (Man! That was a real hard sentence to get right. I’m not sure I did.)
I’m on row 3 and Linda is on row 18, so I better get on the stick. One of the things that has kept me going during Stay Home, Stay Safe is discovering new indie fiber companies and, well, buying yarn. I have a bunch coming so next post will be about who and what I’ve discovered. Stay Home, Stay Safe, Stay Knitting.
That was Friday, April 17 in Adrian, MI. I have more pictures of our 6 inch snow fall but I don’t want to dwell on the negative. What a day; the Coronavirus and 10 1/2 hours of snow falling! Made me run to the bottle of Chardonnay. I can remember when I said “I’ve got books, yarn and wine so I’m all set.” Little did I understand that Stay Safe Stay Home would out last my wine supply. I am doing a couple of things which I believe are helping me get through this isolation. Well, of course, knitting. But also, I dress every day like I’m going out. I even often wear earrings. That really keeps my spirits up. The one thing I wonder is, will I forget how to put on makeup? Let’s take a look at my progress on double knitting. There is definitely a beginning, several middles but no end yet.
This is where it started. I love it. Remember Freia is a master of color and naming. This is Dirty Hippy. That name is right up there with Miss Babs Zombie Prom.
This is early middle. The color is just starting to change to purple. I was really glad to leave turquoise behind. That’s exactly what I love about an evolution yarn. Just when things are getting a little draggy, it changes colors and perks you right up.
This is where I am now. I think one more pattern will do it. Then what’s next? Oh, I have several projects in mind, each one better than the rest. Right now I have at least three to choose from but If I go through my “In the Queue” boxes, that number could easily jump to 100. No kidding. That’s why this is no time for me to explore the queue. I really don’t need any more frustration in my life.
Monday marks the beginning of the third week of organizing the Stash Studio. I love this! I have been opening every tub, putting kits together, deciding which goes to Ann’s By Design to sell and which goes to my friends. I rediscovered a tub of just gradient sets of yarn. BEAUTIFUL! Then I reintroduced myself to a tub of just baby alpaca yarn,. YUMMY! But wait until you see what I uncovered here and there in the Stash Studio.
This is at least 100 samples of Twisted Fiber Art yarn. I already have a ball started. My plan is to put all of the samples together and knit a Hitchhiker or something like that. Wouldn’t that be a great memory of how I spent “Stay Home Stay Safe?” All in all, Dick, Tess, knitting, reading, wine and contact with my friends are all pulling me through this. I hope Knitting: A Love Story is one of those things which will help you get through this difficult time. Stay Home. Stay Safe Save Lives.
Michigan is about to enter the most serious week of the Coronavirus pandemic. Outside of taking Tess for her daily walk, that means we’re pretty much completely staying in. You may wonder how there can possibly be a Wonderland in this environment. I want to remind you of “Climbing the Stairway to Heaven.”
One of my Stay Home Stay Safe goals is to have the Stash Studio ready for social knitting by the end of April. I got started yesterday after I had completed deep cleaning my bedroom, walk-in closet and jewelry box. Since I have nothing else to do to avoid what it necessary in Stash Studio, I made my first swipe yesterday. Every major job requires before and after pictures, so here we go. I must warn, if you are of the faint of heart, please sit down before viewing. The upside of this is, I am going to make you feel oh so good about the condition of your yarn stash. Ready? Here we go!
HOW DID I EVER LET THIS HAPPEN!!!! This is definitely an example of benign neglect. Yesterday I tackled needles. Now I have a tub of needles waiting to be sorted. Today my task is to get everything in its place from the head of the stairs to the door that goes into the storage room. That would be picture two. One of my knitting buddies I met in Myrtle Beach warned me that it has to get worse before it can get better. Is that really possible? For it to get worse? I am very excited to see what treasures I uncover. As I sort, I will match yarn with patterns to make kits. This really is more about returning order to the Stash Studio and not just throwing things in tubs. Well, I have been knitting. I can’t wait to share what I’ve done.
Jean is a lady who comes into Ann’s By Design. On the last day I worked before the shop closed for Stay Home Stay Safe, Jean came in and asked if I could sew her baby dress together. I said sure and told her it would be done by the next Friday. Little did we know what would intervene. A little while later she called and asked if I could finish the neck and armholes. I said sure. The pattern called a simple pick up and cast-off finish. Jan with time on her hands can come up with many different things. So, I started to experiment. The picot cast-off was perfect. I also took care to use the same color of yarn Jean had used to cast-on. I delivered it to her home. I just needed to give it to her for closure. This is how my double-knitting is coming along.
I’m glad to finally move on to purple from teal. See that place where there’s a knot? I must admit that I cut off yards and yards of teal. Teal wasn’t bringing me joy any more. Also, knots are very easy to hide with double-knit. They just slip between the two sides. I think I've procrastinated enough. It’s time to enter my Wonderland.
Hi, everyone. We are 7 days into our Stay Home, Stay Safe, Save Lives in Michigan. Southeastern Michigan (where I live) seems to be the next hot bed for the Coronavirus. I thought books, yarn, Netflix and wine would keep me satisfied, but I was wrong. Early on, I decided I needed to feel more accomplished than that every day. So, I brought out my “Things I need to do but I really don’t want to do them” list. That helps. Early on, I also felt the need to finish something so I got out my Issey Scarf I started when I went to Linda’s for our Rose City Yarn Crawl. HERE IT IS!
I do love it. I have previously mentioned this is my all-time favorite pattern. I usually have one on my needles for traveling. I think this color is amazing and it definitely needs to go to someone with red hair. Can’t you just see this beautiful green wrapped around a neck with red hair above. And once again it always looks better on Lydia.
When I finished Issey, I suddenly had the craving for the soothing rhythm of double knit. I love double knit. Many think I am crazy but there is just something about the counting and the rhythm that calms my anxious spirit. And then there is color. I desperately needed to use a colorful evolution type of yarn.
This is Wendescal “Neue Galaxies” by Daniela Jutzi. I saw it on Pinterest sometime ago, fell in love and bought the pattern. I’ve never found the perfect yarn. The fun part of this pattern is that it is written in German. I panicked at first, but then I remembered, I know how to double knit and don’t need direction for that. All I need is the chart. So I went shopping in the Stash Studio and found this.
This is Freia Ombre’ in Dirty Hippie and my Ultra Alpaca Lite. As soon as I found Dirty Hippie, I knew I was on m way to a soothing yet invigorating experience. This is what it looked like shortly after I started.
An this is what it looks like now.
I can’t wait until the color changes. I hope you are all Staying home, staying staying and staying knitting. We’ll talk again real soon.
Who would have ever thought a month ago we would be where we are now?!?! The Coronavirus and Covid-19 have changed the way we live for a while. I have joked that I have books, yarn, Netflix and wine so I am set, but this is no joke. I have been watching the world of yarn and LYS and it’s scary for these small businesses who often operate on a shoestring. Large shows across the country have closed. Many small businesses rely on these events to stay in business. All have made a huge investment in anticipation of yarn show sales. All LYS have invested in inventory in anticipation of spring and summer yarn needs. All LYS I am familiar with have made accommodation for customers be it curb side pick up, home delivery or call in sales. Pleases help them through this tough time.
I have made a couple of changes in the way I approach my knitting. I’m going to set aside fearless knitting for a while. I am going to focus on soothing. What I learned from 9-11 is my brain doesn’t always fire as quickly when I’m anxious. I am going to focus on the zen of knitting rather than the adrenaline. I am bringing out my favorite patterns to comfort me.
Remember Olgajazzy’s Issey scarf? I have made enough to fill the fingers of two hands. It is usually my travel knitting, I started this one when I went to Linda’s in the summer of 2018.
This is the yummy Scheeples Whirligig I’m using. I should be done today. Rather than being sad and bored, I am structuring my time. For me that structuring starts with a list. I pondered what I have wanted to do in the realm of yarn and knitting but didn’t think I had time. I have been wanting to organize the Stash Studio for some time now, probably a couple of years. Now I have the time. I have wanted to become The Closer again and finish things in my tubs. Now I have the time. I have wanted to get into my “In The Queue” knitting. Now I have the time. I have wanted to write more for Knitting: A Love Story. Now I have the time. What do you say!?!? Let’s make that list together and support each other at this difficult time. My posts probably will be shorter but more frequent. Let’s lift each other up.
What a shocker! I looked at my last post on KALS and discovered it has been exactly a month. That made me think, what exactly have I been doing to be so neglectful? Let me share a couple things with you.
I started Verdigreen when I was at the Coastal Condo. The more I thought about it, the more I realized this could be a class at Ann’s By Design. It is knit in Whirligig which is a Cascade yarn. It looks difficult but it isn’t. So I started knitting the sample for the shop once we got home. I don’t think a class should be offered without a sample that people can touch, scrutinize and criticize. It’s what sells them on a class or convinces them it’s not for them.
This is what Verdigreen looks like.
And this is what Whirligig looks like. Is it coming back to you? Well, this is how much I’ve gotten done.
I think it is a great demonstration of how different colors enhance each other. I also want to do an introduction to the class on substituting yarns. I have always been a rather adventurous knitter. I’ve made substitutions that were magic and I have made substitutions that were disaterous. I must admit that I learned much from each. Do you remember JimmyBuffet’s “Son of a Son of a Sailor?” “I’ve read dozens of books about heroes and crooks and I learned much from both of their styles.” That’s exactly how my forays into yarn substitution have been. Maybe I will use this wrap when Linda Schwam and I teach our color theory class. So, that is a part of what I’ve been doing. But I still seem like pretty much a Knitting: A Love Story Slacker. Let’s go on to the next big thing.
In the fall, Carol Lane (one of my favorite regulars at Ann’s By Design) brought this pattern in. She discovered it in Ireland, hence the Celtic knot. She asked if I would teach her to do it. Of course, I said, “Of, course.” But it had to wait until March. Between fall and March we were to knit the easy part and be ready to start the diabolical Celtic cables. I did get my homework done.
These are my yummy yarns; Reserve Sport ad Merino Dreams. I already had the perfect yarn AND it came from Ann’s. Since this was going to be a quasi-class at Ann’s, I really thought the yarn needed to be from Ann’s. It is just my rule but when I social knit in a LYS, I always use yarn from the shop. So Sunday March 8 (last Sunday), we started our class.
From left to right there is Carol Lane, Sue Nelson and Linda Schwam. Oh, by the way, that knitted jacket hanging over the chair is my Crayon Box jacket I knit years ago. I love it. I talked about it early in Knitting: A Love Story. It has a wonderful story behind it or as they say in literature and the theater, it has a back story. We all came together thinking we could conquer this demon together. I had worked row 1 of the pattern 7 times by the time I got to class and I definitely was mastering that. It calls for a 1 t 5 increase and I thought, “Piece of cake!” After all I mastered the 1 to 5 increase in Jacaranda.
See the little hole in the pattern? That is a 1 to 5 increase so I was on my way.
Except do you see any hole in the Celtic cables? No! So I Googled 1 to 5 increase and watched videos for several hours. The one recommended had no audio, just two hands doing something with subtitles underneath. I never have been good with subtitles. I finally found one that gave me what I needed to proceed. I did Row 1 and went on to Row 2. Row 2 is a wrong side row but you do cable on the right side AND my 1 to 5 increases were so tight that I had a difficult time finding the stitches I needed to make the cable. We came to class ready to help each other.
The two hours we were together were a blast. But nobody left having mastered row 2. Susie got through 10 rows and didn’t like the way the elongated cable stitches worked. She frogged her’s and decided to write her own pattern. Brave lady. I pledged to Carol that I was in this for the long haul. We are going to finish this if we only get one row a week done! I had an eye doctor appointment on Wednesday and my reading prescription changed immensely. I really think that had something to do with my struggle with row 2. If you check out the picture above, my yarn is the same color as my needles. One more reason I have been struggling. I changed my needles and when I get my glasses, I think I will be flying high.
In addition to these two projects, I have been trying t get the Stash Studio into something akin to order. Have I redeemed myself? I hope so. I am really going to try to be better.
I have had much satisfaction over the past 12 months during My Year Of Fearless Knitting but none more satisfying than what I felt yesterday. I finished the mind numbing Cascade Vest. You remember it don’t you?
Linda and I made a trip to the condo In July of 2018 and that definitely meant a visit to Knit ‘N Purl with social knitting and yarn acquisition included. We both fell in love with this vest (Cascade) made out of Kauni in EF. We had to special order the yarn. I don’t know if you are familiar with Kauni or not but It often difficult to see the color sequence in the ball. When it came I was so disappointed. All that showed was a mauve color and I was sure I had been sent the wrong yarn. After talking to Linda and digging through the layers of the ball, we decided it was what we needed but we needed to be patient to fully see the color change. Linda and I both started Cascade. We were so excited to start this amazing project. Kathy, my sister, even bought the kit she liked it so much. Then there were three: three bears, three kitten or three blind mice. Cascade Vest is rows and rows of garter stitch with two rows of black and two rows of EF. It wasn’t long before my knitting self was craving something a little more challenging. 2018 was My Year Of Selfish Knitting with the mantra “Does it bring me joy?” Cascade Vest definitely wasn’t bringing me joy. It became my travel knitting. So for 17 months, if I was riding in a car, I was knitting Cascade Vest. Along the way Cascade Vest became “The Mind Numbing Vest.” The knitting seemed to crawl at a snail’s pace. I started putting a stitch marker on the edge so I would have some indicator of progress. There really didn’t seem to be much. I must admit though during My Year Of Fearless Knitting, it became a respite in times of stress. But still it was mind numbingly slow.
I kept telling myself, “Just hang in there. It’s going to be amazing when it’s done.” Some days that wasn’t enough to keep me going. One by one Linda, Kathy and I put Cascade Vest in time-out until we’d forgotten how boring it was. I think that’s kind of like pain during childbirth. After a while you don’t remember it. Otherwise why would you ever have a second child.
After a while Cascade Vest was so big that it really wasn’t travel knitting for an airplane. Kathy was the first to buckle down and finish. I was really proud of her. While we were at the Coastal Condo, Cascade Vest became my social knitting project at Knit ‘N Purl. I really believe you need to knit on yarn you bought at a LYS for social knitting. I should have knit on Cascade Vest more and bought less when I was at Knit ‘N Purl. On the drive home from the Coastal Condo, I discovered I was probably two weeks away from being done with Cascade Vest. Two weeks away from Cascade Vest going from a mind numbing knitting project to an amazing knitted accessory. I decided to buckle down and finish. I put away all of my fearless projects. Now I have this.
I love it! I wore it yesterday and got compliments galore. I do love it.
It looks amazing on Lydia and pretty amazing one me!
The juice was definitely worth the squeeze. The only problem is, I am having a terrible time trying to decide what is next. It’s like when you finish a great book and just can’t seem to find another you want to read. When I was little I had a cousin who got a new coat for Christmas and he wore it constantly. Inside and outside. All Christmas pictures that year show Jim in his new jacket. Finally, I know exactly how he felt. I don’t want to take Cascade Vest off. Thank you Knit ‘N Purl for supplying me with this wonder garment and the story that goes with it.
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.