I have been knitting on mitts like crazy, but for some reason I have shifted my interest to shawls. Seriously, I am dreaming about lacy shawls and the yarns in the stash. Must. Have. A. New. Shawl. It is a serious case of shawl longing for sure. It is less than a month from the Interweave Yarn Fest and I need to be flashing a new shawl when I go. It’s a matter of pride.
And besides, it is raining outside today. Gloomy. Cold. I can’t be expected to knit in these conditions. I need to go on a pattern hunt and then it is time for some serious stash shopping.
I think that the whole “I need to knit a shawl” thing started when I saw this yarn at the local yarn shop. Doesn’t it look like a great warm weather shawl? I want the body of the shawl to be in the light color and the bright yarn will be used for some type of color pop. Maybe knitted lace at the bottom of the shawl can be in the bright color. I have some shawls in my shopping cart at Ravelry (OK. There are 58 items in the shopping cart. Some of those must be shawls, right?), so I headed on over there to see what I could find buy.
We have a winner! This is Waiting for Rain by Sylvia Bo Bilvia. I’ll be adding lace to the bottom and maybe some other pops of the bright color yarn. I bought several other shawl patterns that were in my cart while I was there with a smoking PayPal account. Here they are:
Well, once I had all of those patterns printed out I headed up to the stash to dig around and match yarns with the patterns. My stash is in the walk-in closet in the spare bedroom, so I took my laptop and a latte up with me and dived in.
I am so fired up and energized to get knitting on the new shawl projects. Check out my Ravelry queue; it is now really shawl intensive. This afternoon the sun came out and I spent some time knitting on the current projects. I do believe that I will have some FOs to show off by the end of the week.
My exceptionally annoying rib pain has improved (love those pain killers!) and I have gotten a lot of knitting done this week. The July socks are finished!
The other progress that I’ve been making is with the new seat for the garden swing. I got the crocheting finished last week and headed right outside to get it sewn onto the frame of the garden chair.
It is a little smaller than I wanted it to be but it is growing in size as I get it stretched to the frame. I’m still thinking about how to attached it to the sides; in my mind I have an idea of how to crochet the attachment. I have a few more days to think about this because my ribs are still too sore to take on the task right now.
I’ve been knitting like crazy on my July socks since the end of the month is almost upon us. Last night I finished up the first sock. Cute. Way cute!
The colorway of this yarn is called “Fire Dragon”, but they sure do look berry colored, don’t they. I had berries on my mind when I went to the grocery store and ended up with some yummy blackberries and raspberries in my basket. Time to make my favorite berry cobbler!!
My mom always grew berries. When I was a child there was a row of Boysenberries in the yard. All summer long mom sent us out with buckets to pick the berries which she turned into pies, cobblers and cases of jam that became Christmas presents for all her friends and co-workers later on. We loved those berries; we ate a lot of them while we were picking and they have become one of the flavors of summer for me. Here is the recipe that mom adapted for her berries.
¼ cup soft butter
½ cup sugar
1 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt (optional – I never include it!)
½ cup milk
2 cups freshly washed berries
¼ cup sugar
Heat oven to 375 oF (350 oF in altitude above 5,000 feet)
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add the flour, baking powder (and salt) to the bowl on top of the creamed butter and sugar mixture. Make a well in the flour mixture and add the milk.
Mix everything together well. There will be some tiny lumps but don’t worry about them.
Spread the mixture in the bottom of a greased loaf pan.
Rinse and clean the berries. (If the berries are large like strawberries cut them into smaller pieces.) While still wet put them into the pan on top of the batter.
Sprinkle the sugar on top of the berries in the pan.
Bake for about 45 minutes. (batter should brown across the cobbler)
Time to get another serving of cobbler (for a late breakfast!) to munch on while casting on the second sock. Gosh, I just love July. 🙂
I just love this new pattern on Ravelry that was published a few weeks ago. It is just fabulous!! It’s called The Joker and the Thief (by Melanie Berg), and it required 6 yarns that form a color gradient (this would be the Joker…) that is anchored by one color that is the Thief. I immediately went on the hunt for color gradients in my yarn stash, ended up making two trips to my favorite LYS, and moved yarns around and around until I finally settled on TWO color combinations for this shawl. Yeah! They are both fabulous and I have finally decided to make both of the shawls. Why do something if you can’t overdo it? See, this is a motto that all knitters can get behind. 🙂
I’m all ready to get started on the shawls except… I already have three projects going and one of them is on the needles that I need to use to knit the Joker. I thought about going to buy more needles. (No way! Who would do something like that???) I considered taking the shawl-in-progress off the needles so it could hibernate for a few weeks while I knitted the Jokers. Yeah, we all know what would have happened to that shawl. It would have hibernated in a corner somewhere for a few years. Nope! I decided to suck it up and knit like the wind until it was done. This shawl is beautiful, and I will commit to finishing it in a timely manner! Feeling very self-righteous I began working on this shawl (Sidere by Hilary Smith Callis) again.
So there we are. I’ve got two more projects all lined up and I’m dying to get started on them. I’ve been knitting as fast as I can for over a week, and I still haven’t gotten anything finished. The weather is warming up and I need to start tending to the lawn and gardens outside.
Stay tuned folks! I think that it may rain this weekend, and I’m hopeful to get at least one of these off the needles. 🙂
What a beautiful morning! My backyard filled with birdsong early and the cats began clamoring to be let out, so I got up, made a latte, and joined everyone in the early sunshine. It’s too soon for flowers (except dandelions which are now in full bloom!), but the promise of summer is there for the taking. My trees are blooming and there are little buds where the leaves are getting ready to burst out. It’s hard to not get a little excited.
I took advantage of the light to get knitting pictures. I finished a shawl over the weekend. Here it is:
Now that I have one of the two shawls that I am working on finished I felt that it was OK to cast on the April 2015 sock. Here she is!
It was a really great week for me knitting-wise. I even coated myself with the best sunscreen on the market (SPF 60!!) and went out and planted my new roses. There were a lot of positives for the week except for… my scleroderma decided to kick my butt. My leg muscles now hurt, my knees have become swollen, red and warm to the touch, and I’m dizzy in the mornings. I have edema in my arms and legs. What is up with that!! My rheumatologist gave me some drug information to read (I get to pick which drug I prefer of two possibilities. This sounds pretty good, but during the week I realized that these are chemo drugs that I will be taking at a lower dose than cancer patients get. Bummer!) Still, I was having a happy week and being positive until one of my neighbors stopped by to talk to me while I was planting the roses, and he mentioned that if I would get out more often to exercise and get sunshine I would “get well”.
He meant to be encouraging. He’s really not all that bright; he doesn’t get “chronic”. I was polite, but once I got back into the house I was ready to rant. Don’t tell chronically ill people that they can “get well” if they just change their diet, get more exercise, meditate, get off gluten, take vitamins, or whatever else occurs to you. It’s almost like suggesting that it is their fault that they are sick. I know that while it is human nature to want people to “get well”; it is insensitive to suggest that this is within the power of the person who is dealing with a disabling, progressive and incurable disease.
On the other hand, I need to pick a drug. Once I calmed down I e-mailed the doctor to let him know that CellCept sounded pretty good. Some scleroderma patients in forums are claiming to be in remission. That sounds pretty good to me. The downside? No more sunshine for me until I’m off again.
I am definitely in a shawl knitting phase. I just finished Edith’s Secret, and now I am cranking out two more shawls using bright yarns. This is fun! Here is what I’m working on:
That’s it. There has been a lot of midnight knitting going on with these babies. 🙂 I need to get them out of the way so that I can get going on the next sock of the month (since it is April 1st and all…) I’m really having trouble deciding on one sock as I found a lot of cool yarn when I went stash diving earlier this week. Then there were the patterns in one of my sock books. How to pick just one?
I have been knitting all week on my Edith’s Secret shawl by Kristin Ashbaugh-Helmreich. Finally, at 2am on Wednesday night (I’m the Midnight Knitter, remember…) I was approaching the end of the bind-off when I paused to look back at all of my fabulous knitting and saw <gasp!> a double picot where there should only be one. NNNOOOOOOO!!! That was that. I stuffed Edith into her project bag and went to bed.
Yesterday in the sunshine I frogged back through the binding, reknitted it with the correct number of picots (one at the tip of each leaf detail in the final lace section) and cut the yarn at last. Blocking happened overnight (with my cat MacKenzie sleeping on top of the towel-covered shawl all night…) and here Edith is in all her glory.
Here’s my project notes on Ravelry in case you would like more details.
I am so glad that Edith is done, but now I am in a slump for sure. I even did my taxes today as I wasn’t quite sure what project to start knitting next.
I’ve placed the likely yarn candidates on the dining room table, and each time I head upstairs I kind of pat different skeins of yarn and consider the projects that they might be used for. So hard to make these decisions… Such beautiful color, and half of the skeins contain cashmere and silk too. I may have to start several projects all at once.
I have been knitting the Edith’s Secret shawl (without any side trips into other projects!!!) all week. I am through the stripes and the totally new to me Diamond Tweed stitch, and finally the time has come for lace. Lace means beads. Yeah, beads!!! I have been looking forward to this since I got the shawl started. I went to the bead store Tuesday to pick up a nice selection of beads to play with as I wasn’t sure what I would want when I got down that far on the shawl.
After asking around I narrowed the bead contenders down to a purple matte finish bead and a shiny light amethyst bead. Gee, everyone at my knitting group felt that the darker purple bead would be best, but I wasn’t sure if I would like that much contrast. Also, I kind of like the pink in the yarn and would like to highlight it if I can. To further complicate things the shawl pattern directions include a chart of the lace with the sweet note that “beads are appropriate in this section” with no notation of where to put them. Yep, a little knitted sampler was in order.
That’s how I ended up knitting at the table with MacKenzie. This lace is English Mesh, and the pattern is pretty simple. It is little tear-drops surrounded by yarn-overs and it seemed to me that it would be good to put the bead at the top of the double decrease in the pattern, or perhaps in the middle of two yarn-overs.
This is what the beads look like next to the shawl.
Well, after all of that it was easy for me to make my decision. If I am going to do all of the work to put these beads into the lace I will be using the beads that have a little flash to them: the amethyst beads win! I have also decided to place the beads right above the double decrease (sl 1, k2tog, psso) in the lace pattern. That means that the bead is placed onto the stitch in question on the following purl row using a little crochet hook right before I purl that stitch. Here’s a video tutorial showing how to do that if you’ve never tried it before.
Yeah! Time to start knitting this on the actual shawl. Edith, here I come!!
Sunday my current shawl project failed a reality check big time, got frogged and then I rebooted the entire project with new yarn. One of the factors in the first effort’s meltdown was the extreme attentiveness (and shedding) of the cats, and between one things and another I was almost 30 stitches off the stitch count. Since Sunday the weather has been great, the cats are outside most of the day and then sleep in the afternoons when they come back in. Prime knitting weather!!
I’m still working on Edith’s Secret by Kristen Ashbaugh-Helmreich, and have now knitted through the first three clues and I am still exactly on the correct stitch count!!! Yeah! I have made a little chart for myself to track the colors and increases, and have been counting stitches every 4th row, and it has paid off big time.
Edith’s Secret is a shawl in 7 parts (clues). Tomorrow I’m going to my favorite yarn shop for knitting group and I hope to get another section of the shawl done. Woo-hoo! I just love it when a knitting project comes together.
I bought a really fun skein of hand-dyed yarn a few weeks ago. It is another yarn from Zen Yarn Gardens Serenity 20 in the colorway Burning Bush. I cast on to make a pair of vine lace mitts a couple of days later, and here is how they turned out:
Cute, huh. These mitts fit really well, and they go great with my black, grey and fushia tops. The colors in the mitt, however, didn’t really stand out the way I thought they would. The grey is almost gone. I decided to make a second pair of mitts in simple stockinette to see how that would change the way the yarn looked. Here they are:
Wow. What a difference the pattern made. Both mitts are comfy, but the second pair will go a lot better over my black gloves and with my new grey sweater. I do think that the stockinette pair shows off the “burning bush” characteristics of the yarn. But the lace mitts are really cute. I made both pairs with the same number of stitches and shaped the thumbs the same way. Which do you guys like better?
I haven’t written up the pattern for the garter vine lace mitts, but I did write down the details in my pattern notes on Ravelry. Here’s the link if anyone is interested.