Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Different Kind of Progress

Busy, busy times with the stash.  The upcoming Guild auction reminded me that it is time for the grand spring fluffing of the stash.  I do try to give the whole thing a once over about twice a year.  After all, stash diving is a skill that must be honed and practiced.  It keeps one at the ready for those wonderful LYS mega sales!

I am pleased to report that the pattern files are staying organized.  To a degree at least.  The new stuff is piling up on top of the old but it all fits on the shelf.  And that should count for a lot! 

I am not accepting comments about the three piles of new magazines & books that are still on my desk.  Those don't count.  It only counts if I actually try to put the new pattern books into the stash closet.  So - what is in the closet is staying organized and that is the end of that.

A nice selection is set aside for the auction.  It includes some left over bits that will play well with others - such as 1.5 skeins of Frog Tree alpaca.

There is also a goodly amount of Louisa Harding Kashmir DK from the famous daughter dress.

It was almost painful, but I am also sending 800+ yards of Lamb's Pride to the auction.  It is gray.  The wool, not the auction.  Gray is the new black and this would make a lovely cardigan for the fall, but. . .   It needs a new home.

Naturally, there is much that remains in the personal stash.  It turns out that the stash includes an entire tub of Twisted Sisters yarns!  Including about 1200 yards of a marvelous Wasabi color.  A whole tub of yarns from the same dyers is not too much, is it? 

Notice that I am a safety stasher.  First, all like  yarn (color AND dye lot) are sealed in a plastic bag.  Then, the bags are locked into plastic storage tubs.  In general, I try to have like yarns in the same tub, but it varies with my mood.  The tub in the background became all of the Twisted Sisters yarn.  Did you notice the pink bag-o-wasabi which needed two plastic bags to contain it all?

Because of my double plastic storage method, I try to toss and fluff the stuff twice yearly.  I figure that the yarn needs to breathe real air and I need to be on the lookout for invaders. 

So - lots of progress, just not knitting or crocheting.  I did stop when I reached this part of the closet.
This is the Black Hole of the stash.  Somewhere in this foreboding corner (it goes all the way behind the file drawers) is a bag-o-Berroco.  I just can't deal with it this morning.

Maybe after lunch.

Maybe someone (that's a hint, dear reader) will take pity on me and arrive at my door with the energy to tackle the Black Hole.

THAT'S IT.  I need a free range Stash Fairy to visit me.  Oh, wouldn't that be fantastic?!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Really Churning It Out

Let's just admit right up front that the photo leaves much to be desired.  But the thing that it represents deserves admiration from all who read these words and try to see what I see in the photo representation.

Miles and miles of knitting!  Well, maybe not miles, but a whole heap of little stitches lined up like soldiers marching in a straight line toward a destination.  And that destination is a  lovely double decrease - centered of course - that mimics a side seam.

The summer short sleeved cardigan was slow in the "get go" but is now flying along.  I pulled this out the other day, determined to make progress on too much stockinette and suddenly the only thing that my brain and fingers wanted was to see the stitches fly from one needle to the other. 

In just a day (OK, maybe a long day) of sitting still this fabric grew in length by about four inches.  This Cajun was on over drive!   Having made such progress in one day, I no longer fear the sixteen inches needed until it is time to divide and conquer the arm hole shaping. 

Yep.  I am going to be ready for summer.  Yippie!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Piece Work

One piece at a time.  I fiddled with this project far too long.   When other things became boring, I worked on it.  But it is finally completed and I can proudly proclaim to all who will listen that I an not 100% focused on knitting and crocheting. 

I have other interests.

Take for instance, this project that I pieced together.

This project is made from cardboard - NOT yarn.

It is a puzzle.  A very nice puzzle that was quite fun and I'm thankful that the family let me work on it all by my lonesome.  Some days I could not tell one red from another and the fancy's were quite similar in color.  The green eyelash brought back memories of the many skeins that I knitted.
Click to enlarge this photo of the main section and you can see the individual puzzle pieces.

See - I do have other interests. 

Now, where are my needles???

Monday, March 19, 2012

Little Progress Due to Spring Illness

Not much progress to report.  Not on the crochet blanket.  Not on the silk/mohair pullover.  The lack of progress is due to a certain Spring time illness.  I should have seen this one coming.  All the signs were in the air.
  • A certain shift in the normal look of things.
  • Friends unavailable for spur of the moment outings.
  • Electronic and snail mail unread.
  • Shaking hands.
  • That certain itch.
Each of these foretold the illness.  Finally I had to give in and just let the bug run its course.  After all, it is almost officially Spring and some times it becomes impossible to ignore the symptoms.

Yes, it is true.  I have a terrible case of Spring Start-itus. 
  • Fresh yarns appeared at the local LYS.
  • Friends were casting on like mad
  • I'd get caught up in the latest issue of one magazine and forget that three more were waiting for attention.
  • My hands were shaking in anticipation.
  • I was itching to start something new!

What about you?  Have you caught the bug?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Head Hung In Shame

Dear Reader,

Envision me with head hung low in shame.  I have misled you.   Recently, as recent as this post, it is possible that yours truly let flow a rant over a pile of yarn that was not growing.  The point of the post was my learning to relax with a calm repetitive crochet.  Within those words was stress.

How did I lead you astray?  Why is my head hung in shame?  I lied to you.  Yes,  a big old fashioned lie.  That pile of yarn that is not becoming a dinner worthy pullover fast enough has NO cashmere.  I am truly humbled that this morning, in a more calm and relaxed "forget the deadline" mode, it is clear that said non-cooperative yarn is silk and mohair!  Mohair is nothing like cashmere.

Mohair is of course from the Angora goat.
Cashmere is absolutely not from the Angora goat.

This yarn is lovely and I have cherished it in the stash for a few years.  The yarn has done nothing wrong - nothing at all.  Well, other than be the slowest knit on planet earth when there was an event coming up and why will it not knit itself into a whole dinner worthy pullover in three days. . . .  Oops.  Once again I digress.  The specifics:  from Artfibers, Casanova is 50% Tussah Silk/38% Mulberry Silk/ 12% Mohair (NOT cashmere).

So, when the yarn jumps back into my lap and decides to get to knittin' it will need a partner.  The pullover that is not yet finished will want to have a contrast hem added on.  Perhaps, gentle reader, you have an opinion.

 Option 1 is not flashy but it is contrasty.  A muted green (this in spite of my skills at exposure on photo) that picks up on a most subtle shade within the yarn.

What do you think?  Too much contrast or enough for interest?  Too dull or calm enough to let the main color stand as the focus?

Option 2 is flashy and contrasty.  This is a silver that can hold its own against anything.

What about it?  Too wild or just enough over the top to speak volumes?  Does it fight with the main body or will it complete the look?

While your opinion, dear reader, is valued, there is much time for the decision.  The dinner has been cancelled and so this one will have its premiere at a later date.   After all, that is how these projects become UFOs!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Simple Stitch Rules

Here it is March already.  For the last several years, I have knit an afghan each year.  Well, time is wasting away and I was feeling as though I needed to keep up the tradition.  And, in fairness to the stash, it seemed quite appropriate to use up yarn that was taking up space that more rightly belongs to a new purchase. 

Witness the very simple crocheted shell stitch as the annual project.  Yes, I've decided that this year's afghan is a "no brainer" simple quickie.  In fact, this will either become a baby blanket (no babies are on the horizon, but such items are always welcome by someone) or it will become a lap blanket (as I know of a Veteran's program that always is in need). 

So,  I occasionally spend an evening working a few more rows with no stress for a specific time frame.  One day, this will be the right size and I'll stop.  Who knows?  I might even look up an interesting border to add a final touch.

Having a no-stress pile of yarn in my lap is comforting and much more relaxing than having a pile of yarn that wants to be a new dazzling pullover in time for the upcoming dinner.  Not that I have such a pile of silk & cashmere in my lap.  Of course I don't.  If I did, you'd have read about the stress and seen a whole series of photos detailing how the garter stitch is not growing and how it might just be a little too wide owing to no gauge swatch and the quandary of should there also be a super duper embellishment on the lower edge because I'm sick of garter stitch and a whole lot of other pressures from such a pile of yarn in my lap!

Oops.  Sorry about that.  Working on a very simple crocheted afghan is quite relaxing and frees me from the other stresses of life.   That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Monochromatic Me

My family might laugh at the mere though of moi and a monochromatic beige/neutral color scheme.  After all, my best looks center around teal, jade & merlot with loads of black tossed in for variety.  Beige?  No thank you.

But, with a bit of inspiration from my color muse herself, I set my self a goal of attempting something "not me."  And as long as the attempt was going to be not me, it does not even include yarn.
'Tis a bracelet.  Filled with beige, tan and almost brown buttons, this fast afternoon project has a different look from every angle - so I like it.  This bracelet & I are not in love - just in like.  Try as I might, the single color scheme of blandness does nothing for me.

Mind you, I did wear this out to lunch over the weekend.  While lifting my iced tea glass, I became aware that a fellow restaurant patroness paused mid walk and cast her eye upon my wrist.  So, perhaps there are some in this wide world who love a wrist full of beige.

But I digress.

The instructions, should you be tempted to finally do something with grandma's button jar:
  • Wide elastic.  I used 1"; you use what ever makes you happy.
  • Lots of buttons.  Most of these are small - the size of shirt buttons.  You'll need more buttons than you think.  Don't be miserly!
  • The unexpected.  My unexpected were a few dimensional beads and one stray metal button.
  • Needle
  • Thread
Work on a flat piece of elastic.  For this one, I started in the middle and worked toward the ends.  Using short lengths of thread, sew on three or four buttons.  Try to cover the elastic when it is not stretched.  As you get to the ends of the elastic, overlap and sew through both thicknesses and continue to fill in the space.

That is the whole thing.  Since elastic is stretchy (bet you did not sense that coming) this will stretch easily over the hand and slip into place.  Naturally, you can custom size to the intended wearer.    Try it - you might just like it.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Angel Wingspan

Angel Wingspan is a "holey" variation of the original Wingspan shawl pattern.

NOTICE:  Wingspan by Tri’Coterie Designs is available separately via a free download at  Please download the original pattern first.  These notes reference the Wingspan pattern.

Angel (a variation of Wingspan) The variations are highlighted in bold.
  • Size 5 circular needle
  •  475 – 550 meters  sock yarn.  Adding stitches for depth or length will require more yarn than Wingspan.

Cast on 99 stitches (a multiple of 3; more stitches results in a deeper scarf)

Follow Wingspan Triangle 1 instructions.  DO NOT wrap stitches.  This will leave a slight gap every three stitches.

Triangle 2 and following triangles
      ROW 1  Sl1p, k2, *YO, k2tog, knit 1.  Repeat from * to 16 stitches before the end of the row or marker.  TURN
      ROWS 2 – 4+  Follow Wingspan instructions

After last triangle (Wingspan suggests eight triangles, working more triangles results in a longer scarf.)
     Sl1p, k2, *YO, k2tog, knit 1.  Repeat from *.
     CAUTION:  as you come to each marker there will be 4 stitches between gaps.  After completing the YO, k2tog 2 times.

    Follow Wingspan instructions to knit rows.
    BO loosely!