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.