The Colors of Fall

I bet that you were expecting pictures of the fall foliage and some frost on my pumpkins, weren’t you. Nope. All of those things have been happening (but I most admit, most of the great leafy color has fallen to ground at this point), but what I’m talking about is the fabulous knitting colors that appear like magic at this time of year. I love fall knitting (especially since it is powered by pumpkin spice lattes in my case!) and have been bit by excitement as I pile more yarn into my stash, more patterns into my Ravelry shopping cart (I have 169 patterns in there at the moment…) and power up the needles with cool weather knitting.

Snow on leaves.
Darn. I felt compelled to put in a picture of fall foliage anyways. See what I’m talking about? Look at those colors.!! I must have them in my yarn! 

Last week I finished some cute socks in fall colors during some cold weather with snow outside. I kept pulling them up on my arms to admire the colors and to check on the lace cuff, and I couldn’t help thinking that they would make some cute arm warmers. Hmmm…

Well they almost became arm warmers, but at the end of the day they did manage to become socks. I was, however, completely entranced with the idea of arm warmers that were also mitts with no thumbs. I wanted to be able to pull these things up onto my arms while working in the kitchen, but also able to have over my hands while knitting. Not too tight so I could wear them over long sleeved shirts or gloves. Not too bulky so that I would be able to wear the arm warmers/mitts under sweaters. I wanted warm!! My poor Raynaud’s inflicted hands demanded them.

Ta-daa!! Check these out!

Fingerless Mitts
Look at that.. there’s a pumpkin after all. These are the finished mitts that exactly meet my cold weather needs. Do you like my fall colored table runner? I’ve put out all the Thanksgiving decorations . Did I mention that I love this time of year?

Aren’t those colors great? This is the purple yarn that I showed off in an earlier post. I still have some bright, happy gold colored yarn to use as a contrast; I’m torn whether to use the yarns for a pair of Jelly Roll socks or perhaps brioche stitch cuffs with both colors. Brioche could be fun…

Finished MItt
Are these cute or what? Perfect for my needs. They allow me to use my hands easily while staying warm, but are easy to push up onto my arms while cooking or doing something that involves water (like bathing a certain yellow cat).

Did you glimpse the rosy rust colored knitting below the mitt? That is the sweater that I am working and working on. I just love the feel of the fabric and the pattern is one that I’ve done before so I know that I will love the finished product, but the simple, one-color stockinette demands that I take some breaks into some pattern or color excitement. I keep getting pulled into some socks and mitts, but each shot of cold weather finds me working like a fiend on the sweater again. I hope to have it done by Thanksgiving.

Sweater in progress.
Doesn’t this look nice? This is the Drijfhout sweater by Isabell Kraemer. As you can see, it is knit from the top down and will have a henley type button placket in the front. I plan to use little wooden buttons when I finish it.

Thursday I knitted faithfully on the sweater and got another couple of inches on to the body, but this morning I went hunting for another cute yarn for mitts. Why, look at this! I have some grey yarn with a rainbow strip from Chasing Rabbits that just totally wants to be mitts. It is nagging me somewhat desperately. What is a kindhearted, cold-armed knitted to do?

I cast on, of course!!

Knitting
This is another Chasing Rabbits yarn in the colorway “Colorful Yarns”, which was created for the LYS where I hang out and knit with my peeps. Pretty cool, huh.

I wrote up the pattern (such as it is…) and placed it in the notes of the Ravelry project page for the arm warmers/mitts. With this second pair I hope to clean up the opening for the thumbhole. Maybe there will be some ribbing around it? Hmmm…

Anyway, if you would like your own pair feel free to check out what I did. Add/subtract stitches to fit your own arm or needs.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

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FO: the drijfhout sweater is done!

Today it turned just darn cold after days and days of spring like weather. I know I’m being a whining baby; it is February after all. The weather people warned us that change was coming so I pulled myself together, sewed the buttons onto the drijfhout sweater and wove in the ends. Ta-da! Here it is!

Finished Sweater
How cute is this?
MacKenzie really likes the finished knit. He’s been particularity insistent on cuddles all day.

I took this picture outside this morning while it was snowing so the light isn’t the best, but it really did turn out nice. The fit is just perfect! You can’t really see the details well in the shot, but the sweater is knit from the top down (no sewing!!) with perfect set-in sleeves. I am just delighted with how nice it looks on me (and I eventually hope to have one of my knitting friends take a picture of me wearing it… you’ll just have to take my word for the fit. 🙂 Here are the project notes on Ravelry.

I’ve also been working like crazy on the Find Your Fade shawl. I’m now in the 5th color and am picking up speed as I slide through the second half of the shawl.

Shawl
The best thing is the majority of these colors came right out of the stash! This shawl is going to be huge, and it sure is turning out to be a stash buster!

I did make some changes to the colors (but you know that I am keeping the purple!). I decided that I wanted a beautiful fall like shawl more than I wanted the type of fade that transforms from one color to another, and I wanted to stick with the rosy colorways. The idea that I’m working with is more like the selection of fabrics for a quilt – each color goes with all of the others and the colors call to each other across the shawl just the way they do in quilts. What do you think of my efforts so far? It’s not a “fade” but it will look good and it makes me happy. Here are the project notes on Ravelry.

Stitch Marker
My stitch marker goes with the shawl. 🙂

I made this stitch marker from a hand blown glass bead that I bought at the Interweave Yarn Fest last year. I really like the way it looks on the shawl – I may need to get a chain so I can wear the stitch marker like a necklace with the shawl. There are little circles of gold in the glass in the main body of the bead that really shine in the sun; perfect to go with the shawl!

It’s going to be a good weekend. Cold weather, knitting, and I even have yummy meals planned and a new book to read. Life is good.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Update from Hell: Still Knitting

A couple of weeks ago the bottom fell out from under the Midnight Knitter family: health emergencies, rushes to the emergency room, surgery, a life altering diagnosis of colon cancer for my older son, and the death of a beloved dog. A terrible 10 days.

A week after returning home from the hospital my older son developed complications and once again ended up in the emergency room. Blood clots! Holy smokes, this is not something that I would wish on anyone! Once again we took turns at the hospital and knitted through the wee hours of the morning. It was days before he could go home again.

Buttons on sweater
I finished knitting the drijfhout sweater before I got sick. What do you think of these buttons? I still haven’t attached them or done the finishing work. Soon. Very soon. Then there will be a picture for sure. Project notes are here.

Then the next shoe dropped: even before my older son was out of the hospital again I came down with the plague. Seriously, it had to be plague. It couldn’t have been flu, since I had that shot earlier this year. <snark> Whatever, I got sick. Really sick. Too sick to knit. Ugh. It was bound to happen since I was burning the candle at both ends for days on end and taking chances walking into hospitals with a seriously drugged up immune system, but still … I think that we are due a break here!! After a week in bed I dragged myself up to my younger son’s place and have been recovering with him since then. Now it’s a whole week later and I’m still struggling to get around with a dizzy head and shaky legs, but I am definitely starting to feel more like myself, and I am back to knitting every evening.

Shawl
I’m knitting like crazy on my Find Your Fade shawl. Look!! I’m four colors in and have three to go. I’m still obsessing about making some color changes…. My project notes on Ravelry are here

Tomorrow I will head on home again. Poor MacKenzie! He and Yellow Boy were pretty much abandoned this whole week with only a couple of checks to make sure they had food and water. I know I will be getting an earful from them once I’m back.

Annoyed cat
MacKenzie: What? An earful you say? Just because you ABANDONED us for an ENTIRE week?

Tomorrow my oldest son starts chemo.

I think of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s quote from Knitting Without Tears a lot in times like these. “Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crisis.”

Knit on indeed.

If you’re going through hell, keep knitting.

OK, this is going to be a serious post eventually, but before I talk about the sad and painful stuff that has been going on in the Midnight Knitter family I thought that I should get all the fun stuff out of the way. Therefore I present to you for your admiration my WIPs for the week, a terrific score at the bead store, and the results of way too much creative agonizing.

Sleeve
I made some great progress on the drijfhout sweater over the last two days. I’m almost done with the first sleeve. Like the red stripe?

 

 

Cat wearing Hoodie
Photo credit: kristinroach

I found the perfect pattern to make MacKenzie a cat hoodie with the left over yarn. Won’t this look nice on the big guy? I think that the body of the sweater should be grey stripes and the hood, sleeves and contrast details will be in red. The pattern, by Kristin Roach, is free on Ravelry.

Sheep beads
…and look what was waiting for me at the bead store: sheep!! These will make the cutest stitch markers ever. I scored 10 of the little cuties.

 

 

Now for the creative burn. For reasons that will become obvious later on in the post I have been driving around a lot this week, up at all hours of the night, and longing for comfort knitting.  What could be better to fit the bill than to put together a Find Your Fade shawl? I’ve torn apart the stash a couple of times trying to put together a fade shawl. This is one of those deals where as soon as I started to drift off to sleep I would think of another potential skein to put into the mix. I agonized over it; should the shawl be a gradient or something more like a quilt? I finally dragged a crate of yarn into the LYS to have my friends help me with these decisions and to locate a couple of additional skeins to finish up the fade. Here’s what I ended up with:

Yarns for shawl.
A shawl that plays with rose, gold and rich caramel colors. My friends kept pulling out the purple from the set of yarns, but damn it, I want purple!!! so it went back into the group. The yarns don’t look that different in the picture, but in life they are varied and they play off of each other and pull out highlights in other yarns across the shawl. OK, I still worry about this one.

 

 

 

Yarns for shawl
Fade number two. In this shawl the colors progress from the dark grey counterclockwise around to the rust colored yarn. Several of the yarns are alpaca/silk and the finished shawl will be very yummy. Everyone agrees that this fade is in good shape.

I started the rose gold fade this evening and plan to alternate between the shawls and sweater. Why start with the fade that I’m a little worried about? I need to knit in that purple before my friends and fellow knitting addicts find out what I’ve done. It’s crazy I know. I think it’s actually because I’m the most invested in this shawl.

Now on to the trauma and chaos. Exactly two weeks ago a text arrived late in the evening.  “Call me,” it said. “I think I need to go to hospital. I’m in trouble.” I was on the phone and in the car driving within minutes. It was from a member of my family with diabetes, and he was in diabetic keto acidosis. Off to the hospital we went!

Whew. Scary, but handled. We got him home from the hospital a couple of days later and I settled in to stay with him while he recovered. Then there was a phone call…

Another member of the family had been rushed to the hospital with serious bleeding. Tests, more testing, surgery, and then lab reports: colon cancer. The chemo starts in two weeks.

Then the horrible just kept on coming. His dog had a seizure and died the last night he was in the hospital.

Maybe you’re guessed already. I have two sons, and both of them were struck with serious and life threatening health emergencies within the last two weeks; in truth, the end is not yet in sight. Without any warning the family motto became “our brand is crisis…” There’s nothing for it but to keep on focusing on the one thing before you as everything comes unglued. Food to prepare, prescriptions to fill, my grandson to hug, trips across town, prayers, and endless phone calls.

and knitting.

When you find yourself in hell, keep knitting.

Bad Start, 2016 (but I made a great sweater anyway. Ha!)

I know that I kind of did this to myself. I was really pushing things as I got everything baked, stitched, knitted, wrapped, mailed and cleaned for Christmas. It was wonderful. My family was all here on the big day, the dinner was perfect, and it was even snowing lightly making it a true White Christmas. A wonderful, wonderful day.

I was just exhausted afterwards.

Still, I made some after-Christmas plans. I wrote out some ideas for the end-of-the-year blog post and made a list of projects to tackle in the coming weeks and months. Great stuff: weaving, spinning and quilting made the list along with the usual plethora of knitting items.

Cat Face
No New Year’s for us. Mom got sick.

The Monday after Christmas I woke up sick. Influenza!! I had had the vaccine, but I knew that it was unlikely that I would get the full benefit because of my immuno-suppressant drugs. By New Year’s Day I literally couldn’t get out of bed. The next day I dragged into the after-hours clinic and was sent home with antibiotics and some serious cough medicine. Thus a cascade of severe unhappiness was launched. Here’s the short version: bronchitis; removal from immuno-suppressant drugs; allergic reaction to the first antibiotics; more antibiotics; a full rebellion by my digestive system; low blood pressure; dizzy, dizzy, and more dizzy; help: I can’t even manage to knit; a flare of my systemic sclerosis; and a complete helping of why can’t I breathe right yet??? There. That was the whole month!! In fact, it is still going, but I am definitely on the mend.

Take home lesson: it is possible to survive on yogurt, cranberry juice and Christmas cookies. Maybe I should write this up as a new fad diet. 🙂 It is also good to have a pile of books waiting to be read. An emergency stash of chocolate is a given, right? Oh yeah, one more thing: GET YOUR FLU SHOT, PEOPLE!!

Two weeks ago I pulled out my partially completed Daelyn Sweater (by Isabell Kraemer) and got started knitting on it again between naps. Last week I finally finished it. Oh, my goodness. What a wonderful sweater. It kind of looks like a sweatshirt…

Daelyn Sweater
See what I mean? The ultimate comfy weekend sweater. This baby is knit from the top down and there isn’t a seam anywhere in it. I decided to knit the XL size (43.75 inches) so that I would have at least 6 inches of positive ease; because of the garter stitch shaping it hangs really nicely and is actually kind of flattering. This view of the sweater is pretty boxy looking, so I decided to try to get a selfie…
Sweater front
Do you know how hard that is? Ugh! Still, this gives you a better idea of how the sweater actually hangs. Once it is on it doesn’t look wide and boxy anymore because of the garter stitch side panels. My swollen fingers are due to the systemic sclerosis flare. I want my drugs back!!
Raglan Sleeve
and just check out the raglan sleeve and the back view! The garter stitch in the back  makes it really comfy and stretchy. The back of the sweater is a little longer due to short rows shaping which also helps make it hang nicely over my rear end. 🙂
Cat chomping yarn.
Did you notice the cat hair on the sweater? Yep. That’s a thing as cat help and yarn chomping happened fairly frequently as I knitted… MacKenzie purrs and kneads like a madman (madkitty) in these sweater attacks so it is hard to heartlessly chase him off. I think that he especially liked the Brooklyn Tweed Shelter yarn that I used.

Shelter Yarn

I have to give a shout out to this yarn. You almost have to work with this stuff to believe it; it is soft, squishy and very light weight. My finished sweater is soft, warm, comfy, looks and hangs like a bulky sweater but weighs very little. It is almost a shock when I lift it to put it on. There are little bits of veggie matter in the yarn, but I think that is because it hasn’t been over processed. It was fairly easy to pull them out while I worked.

When I got ready to knit my sleeves I began to panic about running out of yarn. I ordered two more skeins online that were from another dye lot. I blended the new yarn in by knitting every other row for 8 rows (it did happen on the sleeves..) and you absolutely can’t see the change in yarn. I could have just skipped the blending. How’s that for quality control! Here are the Ravelry notes for my project if you want more info.

So, here it is whole month late but I am starting to think about my new projects for the year. Lots to do. You weren’t very nice to me at the start, 2016, but let’s see what we can get going now. Behave yourself!!

 

 

End of October WIPs

My wrists are behaving again: every day it seems that I can knit a little longer. Since I got the queue organized and a lot of projects lined up I have been on fire. Since it is Wednesday I thought that I would just show off all of the knitting WIPs.

September Socks

Oh yeah. I was making a pair of socks each month this year as my New Year’s Resolution. I remember now. It is now almost the end of October, and the last time I made a sock was… July. My favorite yarn store received a big shipment of Malabrigo Rios last week and I found this:

Yarn
Isn’t this the perfect color for September? This is 100% superwash merino and the color is so rich and wonderful… I decided to make the Stepping Stones socks from the Book of Socks by Clara Parkes. The pattern is also free on Ravlery. My copy of the pattern says to use size 2 needles (with worsted yarn? Not with these wrists! I decided to use size 4 needles and the sock came out springy, wonderful, and has a good fit on my foot.
Cat with yarn
This happened while I was trying to take pictures today for this post…
Sock
To get the shot I had to put the sock onto my foot. Ta-daa! Here it is. The pattern was designed to change on the instep but I kept the same stitch pattern down the whole sock because I kind of liked it. 🙂 It’s nice how the colors in the yarn are broken up in the sock: no pooling allowed!!  

The sock knit up really fast. I should have the second one done by the end of the week. I already have the October Socks ready to go. Catch-up time. 🙂

Daelyn Sweater

Shelter Yarn
I bought this Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in August while doing Yarn Along the Rockies. It is soft, cushy, and fabulous.
Sweater
Here it is as a growing Daelyn Sweater by Isabell Kraemer. It is knitted from the top down with NO SEAMS!! The back is garter stitch which is kind of fun, and there is short row shaping at the bottom of the back so the sweater will have a slight tail.  I want this baby done before serious snow arrives.

Mitts!!

I can’t stand it; I always have an urge to knit more mitts. It is kind of irrational as no one could possibly wear all of these, but they are just so cool and a great way to try out yarns and patterns. I’m going to have enough left over yarn from the September socks to make some mitts in the same stitch pattern. I have some exceptionally yummy cashmere blend yarn that nags at me, and then there is this hand spun that I pulled out today for another mitt project I’m dying to do (but I’m not going to talk about it now as, seriously, I think that it deserves it’s own post). Here is the yarn teaser…

Yarn
Handspun alpaca yarns. Don’t they just look like they want to be striped mitts?

Tonight is the first frost warning of the year so I brought as many of my potted flowers into the garage as I could. I know that they are running out of time, but I hate to let them die. I think that next week I will hang indoor grow lights and get some of them indoors. The first snow can’t be that far off now.

Plant
The last leaves are falling off of my trees and it is definitely getting colder, but this potted plant is still blooming its heart out. I moved this one into the garage for sure and may try to save it for indoor color this winter. Maybe it will be easier to capture the seeds once it’s inside. Another project!! 

Have a happy week everyone.