knitting

If We Were Having Coffee . . .

This type of blog post is for when I have a lot of little things I want to share, or when I feel the need to catch up.

If we were having coffee . . . I’d be telling you how Marcy inspired me to try out this blogging meme. It’s been a good long while since I last actively blogged here. There’s been so many stuff to catch up on but I simply haven’t had the energy write at length about every single detail.

Mmmm, this coffee is really good. I love my moka pot. Yes, I know about Starbucks, but let’s face it . . . they overcook the beans and water down the drinks. I love the people at our local Starbucks, but it’s not their fault; they’re just doing what they’ve been told to by the corporation.

If we were having coffee . . . we’d be going over my knitting projects [insert link to Unfinished Projects]. Well, yes, I’ve still not finished any of these projects. But that’s okay. I’ve resolved to make good progress on the Abalone Cardigan. And in fact, I’ve made slight progress on it.

Abalone Cardigan

My goal is to finish this by the end of the year. I’ll try my best, don’t hold me to it, though.

I even managed to finish off a pair of socks in just 3 days. This was a really nice palate clearer. I’ll be knitting more socks so as to be ready for fall.

Blue Socks

No special pattern, just came up with a number to cast on and then half the stitches for the heel flap and ending with 8 stitches each side to kitchener stitch.

Right now for brainless knitting, I’m working on a pullover. This is actually my 3rd atttempt. Yes, I swatched, but since I’m not using the yarn called for (Knitspot yarn is wonderful, but I don’t have the $ for it), the swatches lied to me and I had to fiddle around with the needle sizes till I came up with a width that I like (I wanted this to be on the loose side since I’ll be wearing this over my turtlenecks and skirts). Yarn is Briggs & Little Regal, which I got at a great bargain from a vendor who was getting rid of her stock at the MDSW.

Pullover

This will likely take me a month to finish. And I should still hopefully get to wear it before summer arrives. Win!

If we were having coffee . . . I would be asking for advice on where to stay during our visit to New York City. We’re thinking about staying in New Jersey and taking the train into The City. But if we can find a nice hotel for less than $200 a night in The City, that would be great. Gotta make a list of what to see there. Blah

If we were having coffee . . . Bullet journals is all the rage these days. It’s a way of organizing your life that is very easily customized to your personal style and need. Ryder Carroll came up with his own system in an effort to manage his ADD, and after years of tinkering with the system, decided to reveal it to the world. It’s still a work in the process, but I think I’ve pretty much got the hang of it.

Well, it sure was nice chatting with you! I hope you have a good day . . .

Merry Christmas!

December 2016 in Bullet Journal

December 2016 in Bullet Journal

Well, it’s time for me to emerge from my blogbernating to wish you all a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year! Glad to see 2016 fading away quickly in my rear mirror, and looking forward to see what 2017 brings us. Hopefully it sees a lot of completed projects for me, and maybe even a bit of more yarn and fiber in my stash. I’ve been spending most of this year on FB and Instagram, which is why you haven’t seen me around here lately. My bad! But honestly, when you see how there are so many talented bloggers out there working hard to monetize their blog, it is easy to feel a bit intimidated. (Yes, I know I haven’t colorized the corners, but I’ll get there!)

Let’s see . . . Shorewood Cardigan, Abalone Cardigan, St. Brigid Cardigan, Evin Cardigan, Oregon Cardigan, Delilah Shawl, Trellis Vine Shawl, and Lacewing Shawl. These were unfinished by end of December 2015, and still unfinished by December 2016. Sigh. I must rectify this by end of December 2017.

List of Knitting Projects

Knitting Projects at end of December 2016

I’ve fallen into the bullet journaling rabbit hole and you can follow me at Instagram. Just look on the right. Want to learn more about bullet journals? Start with Ryder Carroll’s video and site. Then check out groups on FB. Note . . . if you join Bullet Journal Junkies, get the Group app for your mobile device/tablet. Trust me, this group moves at warp speed. Why this system? Because it is customizable and fits in with my tendency to be a bit scattershot and drop things for a long period of time.

I’m not making any resolution, except to keep up on my life with the journal as a guide. I can’t mess this up, can I?

 

Stretching My Knitting Muscles

For most of my knitting years, I’ve always used my right hand, throwing yarn around the needle. I even do two color knitting with my right hand. When I started out with two color knitting, I carried one color on the right and the other on my left.

But it just didn’t feel natural to me, and I found that my tension was very uneven. I tried Continential knitting, and can go through the motions. But again, it just doesn’t feel natural to me. So, right-handed knitting it is for me.

Several years ago, while browsing the web, I came across Andrea Wong. I was intrigued enough by her Portuguese knitting style, where yarn is wrapped around the neck (or over a pin attached to your left shoulder), and yarn is wrapped around the needle using your thumb.

[youtube_sc url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzfYS9_t27k” title=”Andrea%20Wong%27s%20Demo%20of%20Portuguese%20Knitting”]

So, I got her book, CD and a knitting pin, read through the book and practiced a little. But I got distracted by other shiny toys, and moved on. And then one year, while reviewing classes being offered at New York Sheep and Wool Festival, I saw that she was going to be teaching a workshop, so I signed up (and got another knitting pin).

Had a few a-ha moments there. But, again, got distracted by all those lovely yarn being offered by vendors and looking at what others were wearing. Fast forward to the end of last year.

By the way, you can listen to her on the Marly Bird podcast. Unfortunately, there is no transcript, so I have no idea what she is saying.

A friend asked me to show her how to knit this way, as she thought that it might work better for her. Well, now I had to really get familar with it. While checking out the deals at Craftsy, I discovered that she had a class there, “Knitting Faster with Portuguese Knitting“, and it was one of those being discounted at the time. How convenient, being as that the CD has gone MIA.

So I bought the class, reviewed it, and then dug through my case where I keep safety pins and stitch markers to find one of these knitting pins. Then, I thought about which project would be good to practice this technique on.

Being the one to complicate any endeavor that I go on, I decided to use my Edin Cardigan project to pratice with. It’s a nice, simple cardigan with a lace border that uses yarnovers, SSK and K2TOG.

Now, the first day. Really slow going. And my thumb . . . by the 2nd day it was a bit sore. I had to take breaks so as not to overwork my hands.

Edin Cardigan Progress

Edin Cardigan Progress

But now? I’m getting the hang and making even progress, although I keep feeling like I should be just as fast as my usual knitting style. I still haven’t figured out how to do SSK, even after watching the Craftsy clips, and have to resort to my usual method. While the knitting pin works for now, I’m not really crazy about having to poke holes through my shirt; I’m afraid to exert a lot of pressure for fear I’ll tear my shirt.

Andrea Wong Knitting PinWell, it just so happens that there is an alternative – magnetic knitting pins. Here’s what one of these looks like. So, I thought, I have a set of brooch and earrings that Lorraine gave me several years ago when she had to move and was downsizing. I’m not much of a jewelery person.

But, hey, I can repurpose it like so. I can source some rare earth magnets from my BIL, and Colette knows a jeweler who has a shop across from hers that I can talk to about the back work and a suitable hook for the yarn. So, I’m hoping to get this all done before end of month.

Knitting Brooch

Knitting Brooch

Unfinished Projects As of Now

Dalilah Shawl

Dalilah Shawl

What is this: Dalilah Shawl

Pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/dalilah

Yarn: Kauni Effektgarn

When did you start it: Two years ago?

So why isn’t it finished then: There is a slipped stitch. About 3 or 4 rows down. This is a lace shawl. So I can’t just ladder down and work it back up. And it is a big shawl. So that means frogging back every single damn row. Boring as heck and I can only sit there and frog for so long. So there is about a 4 or 5 week hiatus between each frogging hiatus. The Holiday Season made this hiatus even longer.

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: After I’ve finished frogging back, chances of me finishing this is about 80%.

Shorewood Cardigan

Shorewood Cardigan

What is this: Shorewood Cardigan

Pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/shorewood

Yarn: Jamieson & Smith Shetland jumper weight; Jamieson Spindrift (note these are two separate companies)

When did you start it: 2015

So why isn’t it finished then: Just the sleeves remain to be done. Since I was working on this the last three months of 2015, I decided to take a break from this for the time being.

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: 100%. All that is left are the sleeves. I’m planning to knit both sleeves at the same time. It will be interesting to see how the shaped armhole come out. I hope that this works out since I had to go further than the pattern specified due to the row gauge.

Abalone Cardigan

Abalone Cardigan

What is this: Abalone Cardigan

Pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/abalone

Yarn: Alice Stanmore Scottish Campion (through Jamieson of Scotland)

When did you start it: January 1998

So why isn’t it finished then: Huge pattern repeat. 32 stitches and 58 rows repeat. Sigh. I love Alice Stanmore, but some of her patterns can make you feel like you totally understand how Sisyphus felt.

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: I’d put this at 20%, considering the other projects I have going on at the same time.

St Brigid

St Brigid

What is this: St. Brigid Cardigan

Pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/st-brigid

Yarn: Cascade 220

When did you start it: I think I started collecting notes back in 2012, so likely I started working on this about a year later.

So why isn’t it finished then: See the chart behind the ball of yarn? It’s a pretty complex pattern, as tends to be the case with Alice Starmore. Since I’m short and petite, I will have to make a lot of mods to the pattern, in addition to making it a cardigan (where I live, it just doesn’t make sense to have an Aran pullover in worsted yarn).

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: Sadly, it’s probably going to be at 40%. Its a great pattern, I love arans, but it is going to take some time working it up.

Oregon Cardigan

Oregon Cardigan

What is this: Oregon Cardigan

Pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/20-oregon-autumn-cardigan

Yarn: KnitPicks Palette

When did you start it: Fall 2015.

So why isn’t it finished then: I’m not really looking forward to working with Knit Picks Palette yarn. It seems rather splitty. And I’m always finding myself getting into a mobius strip position and have to do the caston again. I’m hoping I get lucky this time and not have to do the caston over again.

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: Looks to be about 50% at this point. Fair Isle is my thing, after all, and I’ve always wanted to do this pattern.

Roosevelt Cardigan

Roosevelt Cardigan

What is this: Roosevelt Cardigan

Pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/roosevelt-cardigan

Yarn: Ella Rae Classics

When did you start it: Ummm . . . I think it was last year.

So why isn’t it finished then: The directions are very detailed and I had started it when it was spring, I think. And since I usually start working on the garden and then summer blows in and it is kinda hot to be working with worsted wool yarn . . .

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: Probably at 50%. If I can get back to it when we have quite a few snowy days and I can get away with just hunkering down for the rest of the day with dinner cooking in the crockpot . . .

Trellis Vines Shawl

Trellis Vines Shawl

What is this: Trellis Vines Shawl

Pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/trellis-vines

Yarn: KnitPicks Shadow

When did you start it: Last year?

So why isn’t it finished then: Well, this is lace weight. And I have a feeling I discovered an issue with the row that I’m on where the count is not quite right, so I probably stopped right there in order to regroup and then wandered away to other projects.

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: I think, probably 50%. Due to the fact that this is extremely fine knitting.

Edin Cardigan

Edin Cardigan

What is this: Edin Cardigan

Pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/edin

Yarn: Ella Rae Classic

When did you start it: Fall 2015

So why isn’t it finished then: Well, I just got started it in December, so .  . .

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: 85%, I think. I need a project that has a fair amount of stockinette, and I want to practice Portuguese knitting (where you wrap yarn around your neck or on a pin, tension the yarn with your dominant hand and manipulate the yarn over the needle with your thumb). I have to teach a blind friend how to do this, so I need to refresh my memory.  Andrea Wong has promoted this quite extensively here in the United States, and now has a Craftsy class.  As for knitting pins, there are several Etsy vendors that have lovely pins.

 

Lacewing Shawl

Lacewing Shawl

What is this: Lacewing Shawl

Pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lacewing

Yarn: Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift (Note that the color is actually darker than in the picture. The initial photo turned out to be too dark to show the lace design)

When did you start it: Maybe about 3 years ago.

So why isn’t it finished then: This is one of those pattern where you have lace stitches on almost every right and wrong row. So you have to really pay a lot of attention. I love this pattern; I love Ann Hanson’s lace patterns. But these can be rather challenging to knit.

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: I think, 75% at this time. Depends on when I finally get back to that row.

Lady of the Blue Forest Shawl

Lady of the Blue Forest Shawl

What is this: Lady of the Blue Forest Shawl

Pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lady-of-the-blue-forest

Yarn: Rowan Donegal Brights

When did you start it: Fall 2015

So why isn’t it finished then: Because I just got started on it!

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: This is a fairly easy pattern, so it shouldn’t be a struggle to knit it. I do need a shawl before May, after all.

Bracken Vest

Bracken Vest

What is this: Bracken Vest

Pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/bracken

Yarn: Brown Sheep Nature Spun fingering

When did you start it: February 2015.

So why isn’t it finished then: It is almost done; I just need to rib up the armholes and the front.

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: 100%. It’s just that I need to get going on the last 5% that needs to be done.

Madeira Mantilla Shawl

Madeira Mantilla Shawl

What is this: Madeira Mantilla Shawl

Pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/madeira-mantilla

Yarn: My own wool hanspun 2ply

When did you start it: Umm, I don’t remember.

So why isn’t it finished then: Yes, this is hanspun. So why haven’t I got cracking on this? Well, I guess I got sidetracked. I have no excuses except that I’m easily distracted by other projects.

Likelihood of finishing it in 2016: I think 50%. I need to have at least one shawl finished before May.