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Showing posts from 2015

Read. Write. Create.

With the last day of 2015 upon us, I’ve been taking stock of the past year, the things I’ve accomplished, and the things I haven’t.  While I’ve completed many handknits, they’ve lacked variety – almost all socks with a few hats thrown in for good measure.  

I’ve also quadrupled my stash of fingering weight yarn.I exceeded my goal of reading 15 books in 2015, finishing the year with 22.I’ve completed one picture book manuscript, but failed to query any editors or agents.
2015 has been a challenging year for me, personally and professionally.  While I have much to be grateful for, I find myself not entirely satisfied.  I’ve always said that I’m a work in progress, and 2016 will be a time to improve in a few areas and explore some I've yet to try. 
I’ve debated whether I want to make any resolutions in the new year.  And the one I keep coming back to is this: I will not participate in any KALs.  I know many knitters find KALs motivating and a way to knit down stash, but for me, the opp…

A Tale of Two Toques

I finished my Chelsea Market Hat this past weekend using Madelinetosh Chunky in Reindeer.  This was a fun project.  I had originally queued this hat up to use with a different yarn, Canon Hand Dyes Gustave MCN Aran in Frank Wolverton Randall, the first shipment in the Among Friends Outlander Club.  This skein was rich and buttery, but with 180 yards, my garment selection would be limited to either a hat or a pair of mitts.I wanted something with texture, and cables captured the Celtic, Outlander theme.
I came across Caryl Pierre’s Chelsea Market pattern first.  I particularly liked the slouch effect and the chunky cable combined with the garter rows.  But after seeing a post in another Ravelry forum, I decided to use Justyna Lorkowska’s Sand Bank.  The reason for the change?  Cables.  I need more cables (said in my best Christopher Walken voice - pathetic, I know).
That left the Chelsea Market Hat for a reindeery day.When I learned this color was being discontinued, I just had to have i…

Speckled is Spot On

I cast off what I’m calling my hard won pair of socks, not because there was anything particularly hard about them, other than there was a whole lot of purling, and I do hate to purl.  Perhaps they felt hard won because they took more than six weeks to complete.  
But despite the slow finish, this was my first time knitting speckled yarn, and I’m.  in.  LOVE!  Like stripes, the speckles kept my interest.  Unlike stripes, they're more versatile.  Before anyone thinks I’ve gone over to the semi-solid side, here’s the thing. This past week, fall arrived, and despite amassing a lot of handknit socks, almost all of them clashed with my business-casual clothes.  This got me thinking that as uninteresting as knitting solid yarns can be for me, they’re more practical than some of the colorways I’ve stockpiled.  Plus, knitting from a pattern instead of row after row of stockinette was fun. 

I used Eaden Yarn’s Prism in Neon Lights.  I think the pattern – Jane Cochran's Hedgerow – complim…

The Zilver Shawl and Fifty Shades of Charcoal

I was inspired after last week’s post to try some non-sock knitting.  I’ve accumulated several – fine, a lot – of gradients over the months.  These cakes are so delicious and without any of the calories.  The way the colors shift from a mere hint of color to the most saturated of hues – all without adding in new yarns or weaving in tails – has made it difficult to resist these beauties.  When you think about it, it’s more economical to purchase the gradient than four or five fingering weights in the same color family.  Yep, that’s the story, and I’m sticking to it. I hunted through the stash for the gateway gradient – Eaden Yarns.  I originally stalked shopped Eaden Yarns for their self-striping colorways.  I have a thing for 6-color, narrow (3-4 rows) self-striping yarn, and Eaden’s colorways are some of the most unique I’ve seen.  But during one update, I noticed these beautiful gradients.  I selected a neutral shade since I knew I would get the most wear out of it.  The colorway is …

My M&Ms Meltdown

This week, I powered through Second Sock Syndrome and cast off some stripey socks.  I used a colorway called M&Ms.  

Despite being named for a particular candy, the colors were warm and autumnal, not sugary or sweet, which also seems to sum up my overall experience knitting them.  The excitement of knitting a second sock is never the same as the first.  And if it weren’t for the KAL I’m participating in where you knit a pair of socks each month, I probably would have put my M&Ms aside because life is too short to knit something you’re just "eh" about. 

This is the first time I can remember a yarn having such a sharp, acidic smell.  I don’t know if some type of molecule was trapped inside the plastic bag used to ship this skein or if the heat and humidity (since these were primarily knit outdoors – at a concert, at two baseball games, and the beach) drew out the smell, but at times, I felt like I was knitting with fiber doused in vinegar or maybe balsamic dressing.

I als…

Beached – My Non-Knitting Vacay

We just returned from a week at the beach.  In keeping with tradition's past, I over-packed the knitting projects.  I took two sock WIPs, and three, yes you read that correctly, three skeins of sock yarn, with the expectation that I would knit an additional three pairs of socks, despite knowing my monthly sock output is two and half pairs.  Oh, and did I mention that I tucked in my Claire Randall shawl – the one I have yet to cast on? Nope?  Well, I did.  Honestly, my knitting could have taken up its very own suitcase, and well, it kinda, sorta did.   And the best way to describe my knitting last week is simply - beached.  I accomplished very little.
But I was successful on other fronts, namely just being a mom.  My days were spent with the kids, who at 4 and 7, are not likely to sit in their age-appropriate beach chairs and watch the waves roll in.  Our days started early and ended late.  We swam in the ocean, built sandcastle kingdoms, searched for seashells, and mini-golfed unti…

The Power of Purple: Harold and the Purple Crayon Socks

I cast off my Harold and the Purple Crayon socks this week.  I purchased the yarn, not so much for the color, but for the book it celebrates.  While there’s nothing wrong with purple, and truth be told, I used to love that color, I have grown less enamored with it the older I get.

Of course it’s not purple’s fault.Purple’s innocent, a victim of color crime, if you will.See, in my circle of work, people have manipulated and exploited this color to justify behaviors that, in other professional settings, would not be tolerated.For me, purple conjures obstinacy, entitlement, and narcissism.
You may wonder what could happen to taint this color.  Well about ten years ago, a former colleague introduced me to her passion for purple pigment.  Perhaps passion is not strong enough.  She worshipped at the altar of purple.  
She organized her entire life around it.  She said it was freeing; it simplified the number of choices she had to make.  To illustrate – she required that all her office supplies…

The Trouble with KALs

Knit-a-Longs (KALs) are great for digging into the stash, except…well, when they’re not.  I’ve been participating in Desert Vista Dyeworks’ Officially Unofficial Monthly Sock Club.  Each month, participants post a picture of their yarn accompanied by a completed pair of adult-sized socks.  The KAL began in January, but it wasn’t until late February when I had my first DVD skein in hand.    
Given my exceedingly large supply of fingerweight yarn, it’s only logical to assume that I would have one, or two, or ten skeins of DVD, but I confess, I did not.  Since the KAL is structured into four quarters, I decided to wait until April to dive in.  So far, I’ve knitted Halley’s Comet, the Entertainer, and Monopoly.  
This month, I’m quite enchanted with Harold’s Purple Crayon, and I’m surprised at how fast these socks are working up.

But the irony of expanding my stash to participate in a KAL that many others are using for stashbusting is not lost on me.  In fact, two other sock knitting KALs th…