Perfect Process

When I use my hands to create it is the act of creation that speaks to me. I love the process. Yes, the finished product is nice (usually) and I like using and wearing what I make, but it is the in and out of the needle, whether knitting needle or threaded needle, I enjoy most of all.

I work slowly, not by choice, necessarily, but it is the way I work in this moment. Once upon a time, I could whip through a sweater in a month, but those days are behind me -- partly because my hands and arms need a slower pace, and the occasional rest, and partly because I have found other shiny objects to draw my attention. 


This past year I found one of the processes I have enjoyed most has been the sewing of Alabama Chanin projects. I buy kits from Alabama Chanin because I do not have the desire to own all the stuff needed to do my own stenciling, nor do I have the space. The fact I can buy a ready to stitch project is a big part of the draw. I need only thread a needle to be ready to go.


The Market Bag was one of the most process heavy projects, of any sort, I have ever made. The point was to learn the different techniques used in the Alabama Chanin process and I certainly have learned that over the course of the two projects I've completed. I've also learned just how much I like it.


The first thing I did was stitch the motifs on the two larger main pieces (the front/back) of the bag.  For one side I outlined the designs using a running stitch and on the other side I used a back stitch. The back stitch took 5 times longer, and more than twice the amount of thread, than the rest of the project. After outline, the inside of the motif was cut away to reveal the color below. Joy filled my heart, as the spots of color brought the whole project to life. However, there was much more to do once the main pieces were complete. The bag had two narrow side sections, a bottom, and two handles, plus all the pieces of the lining to sew into place. Don't forget, the cute little inside pocket with the AC label, which is the icing on the cake!

To keep the bag stable I decided to only do the stitching of the bottom and side pieces and not cut them to reveal color. Three layers of fabric should give the bag the ability, as well as the stability, to carry heavier objects, like books or a computer. 

As with any long-term project I am going through a bit of a mourning period. I miss stitching my Market Bag. I started this project over Labor Day weekend of 2014, so we've been together a long time. It's now time to enjoy the next part of the journey with my Market Bag on my arm, full of my favorite things. I'm stoked.

Welcome 2016

Returning to the normalcy of a workday life (as well as a world of "have to,") after the long, lovely weekend feels like a rude awakening.  We had a mix of weather starting with Tuesday, when I missed SnB as the roads were too treacherous. Wednesday and Thursday we were visited by the "dreaded" inversion, but the New Year started with clear blue skies. I hope the clear sky is a portend of the coming month, as we would not like the inversion to come in and stay. 


My weekend was relaxing, productive, and had plenty of fun scattered in. Even at the carwash, as I had the salt cleaned from my car, I found a friend who had a moment to share a little conversation. We had a grand time laughing and squawking. I complimented him on his choice of color. 


I was honored to receive one of Beverly's hand drawn postcards of her 2015 Postcard Project. I have enjoyed watching her daily progress of creating one card for every day of the year. Her new daily project looks even more ambitious and personal. 

Smith and I went to a concert on the spur of the moment, something we rarely do. The music was a joyful way to bring in the New Year and being spontaneous is one of the things I'd like to work on in 2016. I don't usually share intentions and have never picked an official One Little Word, but I'm thinking about directions to head in 2016. I may even end up picking a "OLW", but that's still up in the air. 


There were a couple of "finishes" in 2015 and a not so great start for my 2016 crafting. I do not accept it as a failure, but will treat it as a slight delay. My last project of 2015 was a pair of Gale's Trip Mitts and I think they're so cool! Somehow I ended up buying a too light weight yarn and the second pair turned out too small. My first project of 2016 will started later this week after I procure the right supplies. 

Despite the crafting setback, 2016 is going to be a great year for making, reading, moving, and doing. Plans and ideas dance around my head and I'm looking forward to seeing where the path of a new year leads.

5 Shades of Gray

When you have an excellent experience knitting a project, you have all the confidence you need to do something similar again. Last year I took on Kirsten Kapur's Mystery Shawl and won big with my Germinate a shawl I have worn almost daily since its finish.

Not the best photo, but I like it

The minute I heard about the gradient yarn from Black Trillium I knew I had to use it and, of course, I fell for shades of gray. Crater to be exact. It was the idea of gradients that enticed many a friend to step into the mystery with me.


Some knitters are afraid step into the unknown, take the clues as they come, and wait for the mystery to reveal itself. Knitting time is precious and the fear of ending up with something you don't like is visceral.

I've knit mysteries shawls I've ripped out, giving up after the first clue, and, in the end, I was happy I did. I would not have liked the end product, but I trust Kirsten and her design process. She has a multitude of shawls I'd like to knit and I was very happy to follow her into a mysterious place.

Just as I did with last years mystery, Germinate, I have worn this Mystery Shawl daily since its finish. How the gradients would fit together, the flow of the design from one pattern to another, as well as the border of the last clue, were all amazing to watch as they fell into place.


A mystery leaves clues throughout the story, but the final reveal is left for the very end. The mystery shawl does not reveal its true story until it is blocked, the lace is unfurled, and the richness of the color and pattern are shown. Only after that does one understand the truth of its beauty.


The seed was planted when Kirsten announced she had designed a mystery shawl for a June KAL.

The seed was watered when she introduced it as a three color shawl. The idea was fertilized when I saw Kim's new colors, Suede and Urban Cowboy.

With Kim's suggestion of Blue Moon as the third color the seed was properly nurtured.

The all of it germinated my Germinate.


As with every mystery, there is always uncertainty. With each clue only a little is revealed.Slowly diamonds emerged in the lace and then grew larger in each section.


The final lace border was looked to with great anticipation. How would it end? As leaves grew, the final lace ledge put into place, the beauty of the shawl unfolded. I couldn't be more pleased. 



Hubby and His Hanukkah Hat

The story starts when I decided to follow Monikita's tradition of knitting her husband a hat for Christmas.  Mr. Smith agreed it was a grand tradition and that he'd like a nice warm beanie to keep his ears warm in frosty weather.  His choice was Fortnight, which I hoped would not take me a fortnight to knit.


On the 3rd night of Hanukkah I finished, and since it was a cold and snowy night, I presented the hat to Mr. Smith just as he was leaving to walk our Moxiedog. The next morning I found it propped up against the menorah (which was such a sweet way to say he loved it).


Mr. Smith is very happy with the way the design covers his ears and protects the back of his neck. He is very happy with the color and the softness of the Shepherd's Wool.  He is not, however, happy with the prospect of having his picture taken. 

Happy Hanukkah, Mr. Smith and a Merry Christmas, too!

Psst-This is post 2070 and comment number 65,000 is >< far away. You have until Sunday evening at 5:00 to comment on this post. Number 65,000 will win a prize, as will a random commenter. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, dear reader!

I Got Lured

I got lured. Carole started it, then Kym got in on the act. Peer pressure got to me and the idea of knitting along with friends took hold, lassoed me in. That's my story. I'm sticking to it. I was lured.


There was no set off date for our autumnal Leftie KAL, but as often happens with like minds, we started knitting within days of each other. I have no doubt Carole and Kym are moving along at a much faster rate, because I have been lured by other things (perhaps that sweater I mentioned).

I also been lured by the idea of warm hands. I like Ragtops.


I do, I do, I do, I DO! Maybe I'm silly, but this new pair of mitts has put a smile on my face.  This past week the weather was warm and delicious, but today it should take a turn toward the chilly. I am well prepared.


Shepherd's Wool Worsted is as soft as cashmere, warm and cozy, as well as nice to knit. Susan was really onto something when she designed this winter necessity. Pulling the ribbing up over the fingers protects them from the cold, but it's easy to fold down if the fingers are needed. 

A Post About Knitting (SHOCK!)

Out of the caldron of burbling WIPs, an FO comes to the surface. The darling Duffers didn't take long to knit and they turned out to be charmingly cute.


A button that matches my two color Duffs "to perfection" was serendipitously found at the LYS, which is the advantage of a large button selection.  I like the slippers well enough, but I will not be one of the many who have made whole hoards of them.  I can see the attraction, but I'm dusting my hands off with one pair.

I'd rather be knitting a shawl, as shawls are part of my daily wardrobe, and I'm of the opinion one can never have too many shawls.  The second WIP to come to the surface of my churning caldron of WIPs is Ziggity!


The colors of Tosh Merino Light, Sequoia the darker of the two and Amber Trinket the light, work better together than I'd imagined.  A failed project left them to marinate in the stash and they came to mind the minute Ziggity was publshed. While there are many more knits to report, this shawl has my rapt attention and, because I love it so, there maybe no forward movement on other knits until this one is complete, which the way I'm going, may not be long.

The Knitting Report

Since the hat makes my hair look weird, I'm pulling a Cookie, and cropping my face away. The hat (a Woolen Rabbit exclusive) feels soft, fits well, and has been a warm covering when I walk. The yarn is The Woolen Rabbit's Mara, the December mailing from the 2011 Yarn Club.  I've heard there will be a 2012 Yarn Club, so you might want to keep an eye out.  I love this hat and the yarn.

My knitting is not at an interesting stage, not very photo-worthy, and it has yet to engage me in much of a conversion. Usually knitting has something to say. It shares a story, a morality tale, a fairytale, or a horror story. But, mine has remained silent. Perhaps, it is just enduring my short attention span, as I just from project to project or, maybe, I’m just hard of hearing.

On my needles is a sock (Kirsten Kapur's Mystery Sock), Kirsten's Ziggity Shawl, Anne Hanson's Luciole (shawl), the Blue Sky Gloves, and the Sky Scarf (which has taken a turn towards gray). Off the needles is a pair of Duffers, a slipper pattern that swept the LYS like a wildfire and popped up on some of my favorite blogs

I'm enamored of everything on my needles, which complicates the issue. I feel stretched thin and drawn in too many directions. Hopefully, I'll be able to clear my focus and settle down long enough to work on one or two projects and, perhaps, take a few pictures.


There was no hesitation on my part when it came to knitting Susan's Infinity Scarf. She's a peep, it was a great pattern, the desire and need came together and the right yarn was there, so with all things in the groove, it had to be.


Admittedly, I had no clue as to why the scarf was called the "Two Ribs Infinity Scarf", other than the obvious two styles of rib. What wasn't apparent, at least to this old brain, was the infinity part! Well, the light bulb went on yesterday morning, which set me to wondering...why did it click at that moment and not when I worked the twisty, seemingly infinite cast on.  Why didn't it click during the infinite hours of entertaining, yet meditative, knitting or, even, the FIRST time I twisted the loop  and put it over my head?

That's it, THAT twist Symbolinfinite, or at least I think it's why. As it turns out, everyone is going to be infinitely envious of my beautiful, soft and cozy scarf because it's truly quite handsome, and totally wearable, warm and lovely.


Susan designed a winner, as I love the way the scarf wraps, its coziness around my neck and the very cool style of the ribs.  The enjoyable hours of knitting were a great way to start 2012!


Holiday Knitting

The long Holiday weekend was (mostly) spend in quiet pursuits, that is excluding the very loud previews of movies that came before a not quite as loud Sherlock Holmes.  The movie was a hit with our group of friends. 


With four days off it was nice to spend time reading, knitting, walking, and chatting with Smith.  While I should be wishing for snow (and at times I do), I've enjoyed the the sun streaming through the window, as it makes my room warm and cozy, the perfect place to sit and knit.


Since I seem to be averse to large knitting projects, I decided to have some fun and knit an interesting cowl. Brooklyn Tweed's Setzer fit the bill with its short row shaping. Actually, it wasn't until after I'd perused the pattern that I learned the shaping was done with short rows.  However, short rows don't scare me...they are not new to my knitting repertoire. I do admit to having trouble with execution, but as Susan pointed out, when I went to her for help, I just needed to count my stitches. Yes, this was a very "DUH" moment, but from then on the cowl went smoothly...that is until I ran out of yarn.


When I started the project I knew I'd be close on yardage, but (isn't there always a "but" with me?) I did it anyway, thinking I'd get away with it (hahaha), or I'd only be a couple of rows short, and it would be fine. But (oh yeah), it wasn't fine!  The cowl would be way to short, AND it would be obvious, as there was a whole pattern repeat to do!


Thank goddess for the stash and for the bit of Shepherd's Wool leftover from another project--a beautiful red which was just the perfect touch.  Sometimes, denial works in our favor.

But, don't count on it.