Delving Into Mystery

As of late, Vicki has been my hero. She not only helped me (inspired me, really) to change my banner, but  also dyed the yarn for my next project, Romi's Mystery Shawl 2015. I was thinking of the sea and sky and Vicki captured my vision perfectly. Since the project is a mystery, I'm cannot be sure what's in store and I'm curious to see how the colors work throughout.

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You may or may not remember I started a sweater, but I've been dawdling and only work on it while at SnB. In fact, I haven't done much in the way of knitting or sewing, it's mostly been reading when I have any leisurely time. I've been waiting for this shawl in lieu of starting anything new and tomorrow it begins. 

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But, I have reach the point where I'm cutting the petals of the design on my Alabama Chanin T-shirt and I'm hoping to try beading and sequining this weekend. Even if I stitched this project non-stop it would be a month of Sundays before it was finish.

This is the proof I do my crafting for the process, not the finished project. I love every stitch I put into my knitting and sewing, and if I didn't it would all be for not. Enjoy the process, my friends!


The Day is Mine

Gray skies, warm temperatures, time on my side, I have a day to do as I wish. 

My heart says I can listen to the new book I just download, "A Prayer for Owen Meany", but my head says I should post to the blog. 

My heart says I can go for a walk, despite the gray skies it is beautiful outdoors, but my head says I should post to the blog. 

My heart says I can put up the little white lights we use to brighten our home during the darkest days of winter, but my head says I should post to the blog.

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My heart says I can stitch on my AC project and/or pick up my knitting, but my head says I should post to the blog. 

My heart says I can make a pot of tea, kick back and enjoy my day off, but my head says I should post to the blog. 

But then, when it comes right down to it, my heart says I can do all of the above, including post to the blog, and my day will be full of joy, embracing all that I love. 

Happy Craft Friday!


Craft Friday Declaration

When Beverly first blogged about Craft Friday I loved the idea, but didn't think I would participate, as I do not craft for Holiday gift giving. I am a selfish crafter.

However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized I could craft on Friday even though I'm not making gifts. The important thing is I will not shop on Black Friday. I will be spending my day crafting, perhaps enjoying being outdoors if the weather permits, staying away from the maddening crowd.

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My first memory of crafting involved learning to embroider, the project on yellow fabric was the outline of a puppy dog bib. Once I had the outline finished moved on to his eyes and nose. I'm not sure what happened the project, but I know it wasn't my last piece of embroidery as I went on to pillow cases, table clothes, and samplers. My first sampler still exists, buried in my unused table linens.

One thing lead to another and I learned many other crafts from my mother's, and my grandmother's hands. I am ever grateful for the passion they instilled in me to use my hands to create. 

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My crafting time will be spent stitching on my Alabama Chanin project and knitting my current shawl, Duane Park Triangle. The next row of the shawl starts the striped section, of New England Red and Godiva brown, two of my favorite The Woolen Rabbit colors. 

Are you planning to work on your knitting, or other crafting project, or are you deep in the throes of Thanksgiving preperations?  Have you intentions of being a part of Craft Friday? 


The WIP Goes On

And on and on. A while ago Kim said she felt the border of Cactus Flower was never ending and it made me realized how much I had yet to knit. At this point I am 11 or 12 repeats into an 18 repeat border and, I must say, it is starting to feel endless. It wasn't until I'd reached the halfway point that my attitude changed to the "endless" feeling. 

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Why had my attitude changed when I was now, actually, on the downhill side? Had I forgotten that I am all about the process? Oh yes, I love a finished project, but I also love being mindful of knitting while I knit. There is entertainment in each loop of the yarn over a needles and being conscious of the action of creating lace. Each nupp brings me joy (after it's completed) and each 38 row repeat gives pleasure, along with a feeling of accomplishment. The process of knitting is all about just that, the process.

By changing my perception, my new perspective has yielded much happier knitting time. Completing each row takes me closer to wearing this beautiful shawl over my shoulders and the advantage is I am enjoying each row as it happens. I no longer look at how far I have to go, but at how much I've accomplished.  It is the process that brings joy.

 


WIPing Wednesday

This post is about something that, as of late, has been a little foreign to my blog. Every week I spend Tuesday night and Sunday afternoon knitting with friends. Some weeks it's the only time I have to knit, but it still adds up to 4 hours of time. Plus, this past week, I knit all weekend at the Alta Knitter's Retreat and spent yet more time knitting with Kym.  I'mI feeling like good progress that's been made and hopeful the momentum will carry on. 

Of course, there has been my usual problem of repeating the same mistakes (over and over and over), which has slowed down progress, but it is the process, and I have shouldered through. In the all of it, Cactus Flower has  grown more quickly than I'd anticipated and you can count me thrilled. 

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The main body was easy and fun to knit, although the nupps slowed me down a bit. Nupps aren't that hard to do, but I certainly had to pay attention. It was the two color section that gave me the most trouble, even though it's a very easy section to knit. I made it much (much!) harder than it should have been and take complete responsibility for being ditzy and not paying attention. 

The sideways knit lace border looked complicated and intimidating, but that is far from the case. The chart has been easy to read and the lace has proved very readable, too. Do you read your lace as you knit, checking your progress to see if your stitches make sense? Learning to see how the lace works from row to row has saved me through many a complicated lace shawl. I'm thrilled with the textures in Cactus Flower and the way the design sections flow together, which means it may end up another favorite shawl.

Gale's posting about her WIPs on Wednesday, so I thought I'd join her. I love the interesting and colorful projects she does.


Get Over It

It isn't as though I live my life in fear of failure. I am a knitter after all, and as a knitter, there has been many a project that once made will never see the light of day. In almost any craft I've tried there have been triumphs and failures. Many of you may remember my attempts at fiber felting and toe up sucks socks.

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Some of the other fun things I've tried were sewing (made a skirt and a pair of pj pants), card making, and spinning. I learned to spin on a spindle and wheel and enjoyed the process very much. But the fever waned and I haven't touched a drop of fiber in several years. Fear of getting my wheel back in shape (will I remember how to put it together?), and getting it tuned properly, and/or making a mess of anything I try to spin, has stopped me in my tracks. This is a fear I hope to overcome.

I put many years into the study of embroidery and became quite accomplished, but it's an art I've left by the wayside to languish. I fear getting back on the horse, as I'm not sure how much of my ability has been lost. The drive to spin, or to stitch, is not as strong as it once was and I wonder if there is something lacking in me that I have lost this desire. Am I lazy? Have I, why have I, lost confidence in myself. Were they passing fancies? Being fickle is a little frightening, too.

So what would I do today if my fear was overcome?  The biggest fear is monetary expenses, as several of the crafts I'd like to try involve an investment in supplies. The investment could be lost due to poor quality of workmanship or the fickleness specter. 

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The top of my list of projects to try is an Alabama Chanin inspired by Vicki!  Alabama Chanin means an investment in cash and time, which strikes the fear chord big time! BUT, then Vicki inspires again, as she suggested I use recycled cotton knits. Guess what I have?  I pile of old t-shirts! I'm going to set fear aside, figure out what direction I want to take, and jump in and find my way.

Stay tuned!


Dreaming

Raise your hand if you think I haven't been knitting.  

I'd say that's about 50% of you. Well, knitting time has been hit and miss but I have put for an effort finish the on the bind off on Sweet Dreams. We're talking picot bind off, the three stitches on, five stitches off kind of bind off. It is a considerable investment in time and every stitch worth worth the effort. Beads, handspun, cashmere, gloriously red...Sweet Dreams is going to be an elegant, slightly decadent (cashmere!) piece of perfection.

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This picture is decieving as it doesn't show my progress over the last few days. By a little knitting here and there I have been able to bind off about 3/4s of the shawl. Blocking should be this weekend! (Given half a chance and an hours worth of time.)

Every once in awhile I give Leftie a quick look, but its whimsical leaves are not something I enjoy knitting. There are no plans to abandon it, so it will stay in my knitting basket, the basket of hope. My eye is on two other projects which will likely be on my needles soon. Imagine When by Joji Locatelli and Aislinn (yes, I'm gong for it), by Amy Herzog. All plans are subject to change as I hear Twist is coming out next week. Who knows what could capture the imagination!


Realization

You know that moment, the moment something hits you and you say, "oh no, not again!"? I have this thing, I'm not quite sure how or why, but it's a thing with me and I do it all the time.  I get into ruts. Ruts of color (extended periods of knitting with red, or blue, and now, it's neutrals), ruts of style (a year of sweaters, of socks, of shawls), and ruts of designers, (Kristen, Veera, Susan and now, Brooklyn Tweed). (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

First on my list of BT projects is Quill, a Jared Flood design inspired by his (and many a knitters) idol, Elizabeth Zimmermann. The second BT project is Breckon, which is from BT's Wool People 3, a designed by Amy Christoffers. Lastly, there is my little side trip into yet a third BT pattern, Fortnight. Yes, it is my foray into Christmas knitting.

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A couple skeins of the soft and warm Shepherd's Wool (my fave!) have been languishing in my stash. I was very please when Smith consented to a row of a different color around the edge. The bit of gold sits nicely against the main color of brown.

Until purchasing the pattern I was unaware of the ear flap option. Jared uses short row shaping to create ear flaps and a neck covering at the back of the hat. The shaping is almost invisible, but it add that extra bit of warmth needed in the cold of winter.  The hat should be finished in plenty of time for Smith to wear on Christmas Day, but the only thing we really want for Christmas is snow (lots of it!). 


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. 

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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But, don't count on it.


On My Needles

Trying to fit in time for a post is proving difficult this week, but I didn't want too much time to go by without checking in.  Knitting time has been as hit and miss, as is posting to blog time, but if my friends can post daily, I can at least try to post several times a week.  I'm very happy not to have another daily obligation.

Different Lines is moving toward the end, but the border is plain and wide, with long rows of garter.  It's great knitting when I'm distracted by chat, or a movie, but otherwise it gets quite tedious. Despite that...it's the process, it is growing. I have no pictures, but to distract you from lack of progress pictures, how about one of Kim's Woolen Rabbit yarn club?

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The yarn is a lovely MCN yarn called Kashmir Sock and it has the very fabulous, and appropriate, name of Pumpkin Head!  The yarn content, its color and its name all give me a thrill.  Ideas for a project are marinating and, in the meantime, I'm naming this autumn red-orange color as THE color of 2011!  The "treat" was a mini-bottle of New Hampshire maple syrup, which was very yummy on the pancakes Smith made over the weekend.

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Merike's Glove also is growing slowly (my knitting life), as I go forward a row or two and back three. The joy is knit with Joan's fabulous handspun.  While the pattern keeps me on my toes, the yarn makes my heart sing, with gorgeous sky blue color flecked with bits of pink.  I could not love the soft and cushy texture more.