Snowmageddon Knitting

Hey, Snowmageddon came, Snowmageddon raged, Snowmageddon left. I don’t mean to be flippant here; this was a really serious storm here in Colorado and we are still in recovery mode. The house shook with the wind, the windows were plastered with snow,  drifts blocked both doors, and there is a new damp stain on one upstairs ceiling. Now, two days after the storm the melt-off is in full swing, the emergency shelters are once again empty, abandoned cars are getting dug out, and the power company is working around the clock to restore power. It will take days to get things closer to normal, but we are getting there.

Face of bear statue buried in snow drift.
I am a lucky, lucky girl. I never lost power, my new furnace kept me warm and toasty, and my neighbors dug out my walks and driveway before I even got up the next morning. 

MacKenzie and I knitted our way right through the storm. Really, best knitting weather ever. Look at what we got done:

Sweater in progress.
I now have both sleeves done on the new Sturgill sweater and am back to working on the body. Why did I do the sleeves before finishing the body? Two words: yarn chicken!!
Socks.
We also took a break from the sweater to work on some simple socks. Hey. They match the sweater!
Cat on shoveled path through the snow.
Today I shoveled a path through the snow on the deck so MacKenzie could go outside. I’m not sure that he appreciated my efforts all that much…
Snow on bush.
…and it is clear that it will be several days before he can hang out under his favorite shrub again. Poor MacKenzie. Cats hate snow!
Happy cat wearing knitted project.
But they sure do help knitting!!

Today it is bright and sunny outside and I’m ready to head off to complete chores for the weekend. Then it will be time for more knitting. I am dying to get the sweater done before it is too warm to wear it!

After all, it is only 5 days until the start of spring.

Have a great (knitting) weekend, everyone!

Waiting for Snowmageddon

I woke up this morning to a warm, sunny day and a cell phone full of alerts. Well, look at that! A weather alert had been declared overnight for my area.

The knitworthy niece showing off her fabulous mitts!!
But in sunny California my KNITWORTHY niece is rocking her new mitts that I made for her. Did you ever see a happier recipient of a knitted item? She posted the picture to Facebook last night and my phone was also full of reactions to her picture. That’s what I’m talking about! Knitworthy.

The panic was in full swing when I looked at my phone. The schools were already closed for tomorrow. The city was advising that I get essential supplies and that I should plan on staying home tomorrow. There was a note about taking care of animals and checking the furnace. The county sent a message warning that they would try to keep “snow route” roads open, but they couldn’t make any guarantees.  By the afternoon the National Weather Service had put out a blizzard warning, and by this evening the weather forecasters were talking about a possible “bomb cyclone“.

Cat face.
Cats do not like snow!! They aren’t really sure what “bomb cyclones” are, but they can’t be good. Cats dislike “bomb cyclones” and blizzards even more than they dislike snow.

There have been several storms and a lot of avalanches this month, some of which came across the major interstate freeway through the mountains. Here in Colorado we usually get snow in March (it is the snowiest month for us), but this is ridiculous!

All right then… not a moment to spare! I sprang into action and hit the road. Essentials for the storm include: gas for the car, groceries (including salmon and avocadoes… I believe in civilized snow emergencies!), a blood draw at Kaiser, and books from the library. I grabbed a Starbucks latte for a treat and headed home to get shovels and other gear ready for the storm. I now have yummy food, lots of projects, and good books to keep me company. Bring it on, Mother Nature, I am ready to go. MacKenzie, not so much, but that is the way it is for cats, I’m afraid.

Happy cat wearing knitted project.
MacKenzie and I have been working on my Sturgill sweater while watching the weather reports, and it is looking good!
Author wearing sweater in progress.
See. Looking good! I’ve taken the body off the needles and am knitting the sleeves right now because… yarn chicken worries. Once the sleeves are done I can blend the remaining yarn artfully to get the length I want.
Moon shining through a tree.
Tonight all is still calm and the storm is still just a dream waiting to happen…

I’m knitting like crazy on the sweater this evening and have several shows queued up for me on the DVR. I’m thinking that I’m in for a few days of prime knitting weather.

Yippee!

You all be safe out there!

PS: Did you wonder what I had to do with the shovel to get it ready for the snowstorm? Why, bring it inside, of course, so it would be warm when I spray it with Pam later for no-stick snow shoveling. We knitters are canny about spring snow storms…

Sturgill Learning Curve

I launched into Sturgill with supreme self-confidence. I had just finished off some stunningly challenging mitts for my niece and felt like there wasn’t a knitting project anywhere that would be beyond me. I’m rocking, right?! Let me just print out this bad boy, cast on and whip it out…

Sturgill pattern by Caitlin Hunter and the author's work in progress.
There isn’t a sweater designed by Caitlin Hunter that I don’t want to knit. I was hooked as soon as I saw this pattern hit Ravelry. I went stash shopping that night and couldn’t wait to get started. As you can see, I have been making progress, but I’ve been learning new tricks along the way…

Do you hear the sound of screeching brakes in the background? Yep. Hubris will only get you so far. There have been problems. I have had to rethink some things, learn some new skills, and just embrace the adventure. Here are the highlights:

Color Choices

Yarn for sweater.
I selected these yarns the night that I printed the pattern. I thought that the purple would be great as the color pop (turquoise color in the original) in the sweater. I cast on and started knitting with the grey, and then wound the other colors when I got to the colorwork chart. Oh. Once I had the yarn wound I realized that this purple made the dusky pink (my favorite!) look dull. Really dull. Ugh. Time to hit the yarn stash again…
Final yarn chosen for the sweater.
I found this muted purple to use instead. The new purple is fingering (the other yarns are DK) so I will need to knit it doubled. That should work, right? The pink brightened right up with the new purple and looks much better. Yay! I cast on with these yarns.

Yarn Handling

I’m pretty good at knitting colorwork these days. I carry the dominant color in my left hand and the other color in my right; I catch the strands every other stitch so there are few floats. What I didn’t anticipate because I didn’t look closely at the pattern in my rush of casting on joy is that there are three colors being used at a time in parts of this color chart. Oops! After some struggling, inappropriate language, and hair pulling, I worked out a routine to handle all three colors by parking one on the left to be used only by my left hand (grey yarn), one on the right to be used only by my right hand (purple yarn) and the pink was parked in the middle. As I worked through the chart the pink switched hands as required by the work, I caught floats when I could, and there was no tangling of the yarn.  Slow going, but the final fabric looks pretty good, and you can’t see that inappropriate language at all. 🙂

Bobbles

There were bobbles on my niece’s mitts, which required a lot of turning back and forth while I worked each one. Not a big deal, because the mitt was a small item. This sweater has lots of 3-stitch bobbles, and I didn’t want to turn the work back and forth for every single one. The bobbles involve only 3 stitches. Obviously a great opportunity to knit backwards…

After some messing around I figured out how to do it. I’ve started the bobble here and am backwards knitting the three bobble-stitches from the right needle back onto the left. To do this you insert the left needle into the back of the stitch you are working…
Knitting backwards
Wrap the yarn around the left needle from front to back…
Knitting backwards
Pull the wrapped yarn through the stitch…
Knitting backwards
Pull the finished stich off the right needle to the left one. I just knitted this stitch backwards! 
Finished bobble
By knitting stitches backwards instead of turning the work and purling them, I found that it was much easier (and faster) to get the bobbles done. Win and a new skill acquired!

There’s more struggle ahead of me. I’m worried about running out of the grey yarn and there was no more at the LYS so I bought two skeins of fingering to use knitted double. That’s DK, right? The colors look to be a good match, but I’m still a little anxious. I hated to add two skeins to the stash, but I was dying with yarn chicken anxiety. I’m getting away with doubled yarn with the purple, but if I pull that trick with the sleeves will they look funny? Lots to worry about.

MacKenzie helping with the knitting.
I’m also dealing with the usual cat assistance while I knit. So cute. So purrsistent. So annoying when struggling with three colors or bobbles.
Knitted Progress.
But I’m making good progress on the sweater anyway and I’m really happy with the colors. I can’t wait to get this finished and blocked!!

I’m still trying to clean as much yarn as I can out of the stash this year. So far I’ve used up 13 skeins, and with the sweater I should clear several more even without counting the two skeins I added on as insurance. This sweater is mostly out of the stash, and even though it is keeping me on my toes, I am so happy with how it is knitting up!

Here are my Sturgill project notes on Ravelry.

MacKenzie Speaks: Done, Done, and Done!!

Hi. I’m MacKenzie.

Cat.
Do you see how innocent I look? I ran out the front door when an Amazon package arrived, forced the Mother of Cats to chase me down in her bathrobe, and then informed her that I needed cookies. What? Cookies are for cats!

A few week ago the Mother of Cats lost control of her stash and cast on project after project. There was an explosion of  WIPs. The project bags and plastic containers were everywhere. I was constantly in trouble for knocking things off the table. So excitable, the Mother of Cats. I don’t think that she has her priorities aligned correctly. Cats are first, always. Everyone knows this!

This week she pulled herself together and got things done. Look at this!

Cat and knitting.
I helped myself to a little yarn chomping while she tried to finish the sleeves of her sweater. I kind of like this thick Brown Sheep yarn because you can get a good chomp on it!
Finished sweater.
Monday the Mother of Cats weaved in all of the ends and the sweater was done! Mohair and wool: perfect for cat naps. The Mother of Cats is thinking of knitting me a little blankie from the extra skeins.
Cowl on author.
Tuesday she finished her new cowl.
Cowl on wooden bear.
By Wednesday the cowl was blocked and finished. I think it looks better on the bear, don’t you?
Cat and sock.
Wednesday she concentrated on getting a sock done and I once again helped myself to some chomping. This thin yarn isn’t as fun to chomp and the Mother of Cats actually YELLED at me to stop. What is wrong with her? Yarn (and cookies) is for cats, right?
Socks.
Tonight they came off the needles and she did the finish work. Look! Here they are… done!!

Wow. Suddenly the Mother of Cats needs to clean up the coffee table by her knitting chair. There are empty needles, knitting patterns, project bags, and yarn scraps everywhere. I can hardly get to my bed with all of this chaos around it. Why does the Mother of Cats lack balance? She should learn from me. It is best to spend the day sleeping, eating, chomping cookies, causing trouble (umm… I might have eaten part of a baby rose bush…), and chasing yarn.

Tomorrow she plans to clean up and to get her last two WIPs finished off so she can WIND MORE YARN!! Oh, I really like to wind yarn.  That is about my favorite thing in the world. The Mother of Cats would struggle to get things done without me.

I’m such a good boy.

Can I have cookies now?

>^..^<

Notes from the Mother of Cats:

  • The sweater is the Daelyn Pullover and will be a great cold weather sweater for me. My project notes are here.
  • The Cowl is the Dissent Cowl; I knit it with MCN in a DK weight from Western Sky Knits. It is very soft, sturdy and warm. Another cold weather star. My project notes are here.
  • The socks are my own pattern to match my new Clinkerbell Cowl by Casapinka. Project notes are here.
  • I have to get a pair of mitts and my thrummed mittens finished. Next week! Tomorrow I am going to wind the yarn for a new sweater!! Sturgill, here I come!!

MacKenzie Speaks: WIP Progress

Hi. I’m MacKenzie.

Cat on knitting.
I’m dozing on the new sweater. Don’t you think that this color red looks good with my fur?

Last week I reported on the explosion of WIPs that happen as the Mother of Cats abandoned all good sense and cast on one project after another. So many projects going I can hardly find a place to nap! The Mother of Cats has been busy knitting all week long but she hasn’t managed to get even one little project done. Not one! I keep nagging her to knit faster, but it seems that even that isn’t enough to get things finished around here.

Daelyn Sweater.
But she is making progress on her new sweater!

I like this sweater a lot. Every time she puts it down I move in for some quality sleep. The color is nice, but it’s a standout for just being nice and warm with some optimal squishiness too. There is a lot of this yarn in the stash and I’m hoping that she uses the extra to make a new blanket for my bed. I deserve a new blanket!! Never was there a cat more patient and understanding than me!

Mitt
She did get ONE mitt done.  I had so much fun chasing the little furry thrums while she was making this.

There was a little halt in the sweater when the Mother of Cats realized that she needed the needles being used in this mitt to knit the sleeves of the sweater. Oops. She knitted like crazy one afternoon to finish the mitt so that she could go back to the sweater. Now we have only one mitt, and the other one will have to be knitted when the sweater is done. Did the Mother of Cats think of this when she went all crazy and cast on all of these projects? No. She did not. She should listen to me more and concentrate exclusively on meeting my needs. I need cookies more often. I still want a mouse! I keep reminding her every time I check out the garage, but she hasn’t gotten me one yet…

Cowl on cat.
The new cowl is coming right along too. Check out the fun pattern.
Cat wearing knitting.
It really isn’t comfy to wear yet. She needs to take these crazy needles out so I can really cuddle in the yarn. This one is really soft and warm!
Snowy pine.
Look at the icicles in the trees. I wanted to go out to play in the snow, but NOPE! I didn’t get to have any fun.

It got cold and snowed early last week, and the Mother of Cats stayed home a couple of days because she is such a baby. I guess I should be fair… the weather forecast was broken. It was supposed to snow only an inch, and instead there was almost a foot of snow! She did shovel the walks and found these fun icicles in the pines. They made her think of the socks she is making to match her Clinkerbell Cowl, so she also worked on them one evening.

Socks
She is now starting the heel.

That’s it. Do you see all of this knitting that has been going on, and NOTHING is finished. Okay, there was a mitt done, but she needs to do the other one to wear it. Lazy Mother of Cats. She needs to devote herself to one thing at a time. She needs to listen to me more.

She needs to get me a mouse!!

Sigh.

I’m such a good boy.

Can I have some cookies now?

>^..^<

Notes from the Mother of Cats:

MacKenzie Speaks: An Explosion of WIPs

Hi. I’m MacKenzie.

Cat and knitting.
Look at how far away from the knitting I am! The Mother of Cats is being mean to me.

The Mother of Cats and I have been making really good progress on her new red sweater. I’m in charge of her yarn while she works because the sweater is getting so big that it whaps me in the face while she is working. I think that the Mother of Cats should just be more careful. She is hard to train, but I keep working with her because… cookies!

Sweater
Do you see how much progress we have made?
Sleeping cat
I try to supervise her closely, but frankly all this red is kind of exhausting.

It is kind of hard on me to never be able to sit on the Mother of Cats lap while she is working. This yarn is not as soft as some of the others that she uses, and she says that knitting with this yarn makes her wrists hurt. What a whiny Mother of Cats! She needs to toughen up some more. Maybe she could catch me some mice in the garage… that would make her wrists feel better. Nope. She won’t even consider getting me some fun mice, but she did look around for some other projects for knitting breaks.

Cat and roving.
I reminded her of this really soft roving that her BKB Deb gave her.

That roving is really soft. It would make a great bed for me. Maybe a new cat blanket?! Did she use it for that? No. She did not!

Thrummed mittens.
She used little scraps of the roving to start making these mittens.

The inside of the mittens will have scraps of the roving to make them really soft and warm. She says these are called thrums. I want this for my bed! Why doesn’t the Mother of Cats do what I want? So difficult, the Mother of Cats!

Mitt Cuff.
The Mother of Cats then got bored and started on these wild mitts for her knitworthy niece in California. She wanted to experiment, she said, and needed to work on smaller needles.
Cat paw on knitting.
Ha! There is no way she can keep me off her lap while working on these. There are two balls of yarn! Maximum yarn chomping opportunities!

The Mother of Cats is getting ready to do the thumb for the wild colored mitts, and decided to take a break to plan the knitting on her computer. She says she is thinking. She is just lazy. She hasn’t been petting me and giving me cookies as much as she should. Lazy.

Dissent Cowl
Do you see what she did last night when she should have been catching me a mouse or getting the cookie container out? She started another knitting project! This one is a cowl. Thank heavens it has two yarns. You know how I feel about yarn chomping and extra balls of yarn.
Socks
Don’t forget, she still has these socks going. She takes them with her in the car to work on when she to sit around in doctor offices.

So that is what happened this week. There are so many projects going I can’t keep them all straight. There are more projects than I have cat toys!! Crazy! Completely unacceptable. She needs to go out and get me some more toys, or at least some premium cat nip, or a live mouse at the least.  I really want a mouse! Why can’t I have a mouse!!

I don’t think that the Mother of Cats loves me. She should stop knitting and get me that mouse right away!!

I’m such a good boy!

Can I have some cookies now?

>^..^<I

Notes from the Mother of Cats:

I just couldn’t help myself. The yarn for the new Daelyn sweater is hard on my wrists and the ends of my fingers are getting sore. It is wonderful yarn, but not superwash and I think that the mohair is making is a little rough on my fingers. Never mind, I told myself, just cast on another project for a break.

Things immediately got out of control:

  • The thrummed mittens will be fabulous. The Ravelry project page is here.
  • The colorful mitts for my niece (Which I blogged about a few weeks ago) are being invented using a booklet from Blue Moon Fiber Arts and another knitter’s project for inspiration. I’m working out the Fair Isle chart for the thumb on my computer now. My project notes with all of that information is here.
  • The socks are being made using the patterns in the Clinkerbell Cowl. Think of them as little clinkerbells for my feet. 🙂 My project notes are here.
  • The cowl is the Dissent Cowl. The minute I saw it I knew that I had to start knitting it. Right now the US government is experiencing a partial shutdown, and friends and neighbors around me are struggling because of it. I am also a child of public servants who spent her entire work life working for her community as a medical researcher and teacher, and I dissent!! I absolutely dissent! I plan to wear this cowl as much as possible and hope I don’t have to head off to public demonstrations in the street, but if it happens I will be sporting this fabulous knitted replication of RBG’s dissent necklace. My project notes are here.

I only managed to use up one new skein of yarn this week, but I’m just knitting on and should get some of these projects done eventually. There should be a big jump in the skein count then. Woohoo! Crazy knitting, a serious case of castonitis and stashbusting at its best. It must have been the super blood wolf moon. That’s my story and I am sticking to it.

FO Friday: Week 3, Year 2019

MacKenzie has slept through most of the knitting this week, so I am going to have to post my progress in my own “voice” this week.

Sleeping MacKenzie.
Actually, the only time that I have been able to knit this week has been while he was sleeping.

I think that it is the weather. It snowed over the weekend and the days were gloomy. I had to do errands this week which left him home alone for too many hours; ocicats do not tolerate alone time well. He still misses his brother Yellow Boy. Anyway, when he was up it was all “pet the cat!” all the time. He had absolutely no interest in the knitting or yarn chomping; instead he just climbed on me, head butted my hands to make me pet him and ran his purr engine on high. He is so cute about it the knitting went away each time he showed up at my knitting chair. So, no knitting with cat pictures this week.

In spite of the needy MacKenzie I did get a lot accomplished over the week. Check this out!

Stitch detail of the cowl.
I cast on and started on a Clinkerbell Cowl for myself over the weekend. This MCN DK yarn (another Western Sky Knits score from the Estes Park Wool Market this summer) is just a joy to knit with.
Finished cowl.
By Tuesday I had the cowl done and steam blocked. I just love, love, love this piece and plan to take it out shopping in the snow this afternoon. My Ravelry project notes are here.

I also pulled out a languishing WIP and got knitting on it again. I have several skeins of Brown Sheep yarn that I have had stashed for over 10 years. Now that I am attacking the stash I have pulled myself together and am knitting steadily on this sweater to get it done while it is still cold outside.

Start of sweater.
This is a single ply wool/mohair yarn that is going to be a workhorse for me in this sweater. Can’t you just feel the cushy warmth coming right at you through the picture? You can, can’t you! That’s what I’m talking about.
Progress on my sweater.
Look at how far I got this week!

This sweater is the Daelyn Pullover by Isabell Kraemer, and the second one that I’ve made so I know that it is going to be the perfect warm sweater for casual wear. Okay, let’s be honest. That is just about every day for me these days as I am all about layered wooly comfort that will keep my Raynaud’s under control. This sweater is going to be seeing a lot of wear for sure, hopefully for years to come. My Ravelry project notes are here.

So how am I doing on the 2019 yarn stash challenge? I used up another three skeins of yarn this week!! I am now up to a grand total of 6 skeins for the year; only 44 more to go.

Have a good weekend everyone.