smitten knittin'.. kitten

In case you were curious (or not) and haven't happened to see me at any of the Fiber Festivals we've been to this year, I am still a knitter.  Although an awful lot of my knitting time has been spent making samples for the Ball and Skein booth, I have managed a couple things for myself.  This little scarf, Miss Winkle, caught my eye when Matina Behm offered it on Ravelry late in the summer.  I was looking for a quick, easily memorized project to knit while visiting with family and friends in the evenings.  After about the third little loop, I was smitten. 

 

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Blocking her was fun!  Really.  I poked around in the barn until I came up with a four foot lenghth of 1" pvc plumbing pipe.  All the little loops were then threaded onto it while wet.  The whole scarf was hung by it on a gentle angle to dry.  Easy. Easy!  I can see another one or two of these in my future.  

Back to back shows have me tired out and looking for another simple project.  Any ideas? 

 

There's another little someone in my life these days that has me smitten... 

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and on Sunday..

I went to a worksop.

Last Sunday morning, Slater Mill offered a Double Knitting workshop, taught by Alasdair Post-Quinn.   Terrific workshop!  It was only 3 hours, barely enough time to cover the basics.   I found myself wishing it were longer.    

 

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If you aren't sure what double knitting is, think back to the old Starsky and Hutch show.  Starsky had a big Mexican knit sweater that I am fairly certain was double knit.  If his wasn't, certainly others that are similar are.

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                                           ~photo from Mexchic~

Sometime in the 80's, while traveling during a cold rainy season in the mountains along the Guatemalan border, I bought one for myself. It wasn't really at all like his. It had a much more inticate design, one that I puzzled over for all the years that I had it.  The inside and outside were the same pattern, but in reverse tri-coloring.  

Here's what we did..

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the other side..

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My edges aren't very good and my stitches are uneven.  But, I am very pleased.  I tried holding my yarn as if to throw and found that was not only very slow, but also very awkward.  Then, thinking that it made the most sense to hold both strands in one hand, I tried kniting continental style.  It was better, still slow and awkward on the first couple stitches.  My very 'sticky' coarse yarn made it worse.  I'll give this method another try eventually.  Finally, I used combination knitting, one color in each hand, as if to do colorwork.  That for me, was the method that felt right.  I was faster and my stitches improved. 

The bind off..

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Weekending..

All week I looked for my camera.   It is probably a good thing it took me so long to figure out in which safe place I'd left it.  If I'd found it sooner, perhaps after the first knitted gift was finished this past week, I might have taken a full shot of it, a spoiler, indeed.  Looking everywhere, over and over again, gave me time to cool my ardor.  I love this little pattern.  Knitting it is a bit like that chips commercial , after one, you need another.  By the time I finaly looked in the toe of the hiking shoes that I'd left in on the floor of the car I'd finished three.  Safe places, indeed!  

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I've posted details on my Ravelry project page.  The details should be safe there. The recipients don't ravel.  I've added another to the stack since this picture was taken Friday. It's a rusty red and it is mine! 

Seriously, this project is a quick knit, using an aran wt. yarn and #8 needles.  If you are still searching for a pattern, suitable for a girl, that you can finish in time for Christmas, look no further.  One skein of my Breckenridge makes two.  The one on top, in Forest, was leftover from another project.   

The colder temps this morning, gave the perfect excuse to try one out.  I've been trying to manage a three mile hike through the woods everyday.  When I'd gone a mile and warmed up enough that I didn't need this little gem, I found it to be the perfect size to roll up and stuff into my pocket.  


lavender honey

Sorry, don't get all excited, I wish I did have some.  I named this little cowl Lavender Honey because of the color (bet you already guessed that) and because the pattern that I started with was Honey, by Madelinetosh.  I changed the stitch count to make a smaller, more light weight version. 

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Yarn: Ball and Skein's Providence
Colorway: Forget Me Not
Needles: 8 US  24" circular

There was a change in the weather last night.  The wind picked up and in came the cold.  After a week of lovely too warm for the season temps, we are finally feeling like November.  This cowl is perfect to wear on my afternoon walks. 


Lady Bertram Shawlette

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Thank you Wendy!  I loved knitting Lady Bertram.  This is the second of Wendy Johnson's shawl patterns that I have knit.  One right after the other.  Both were quick to knit from fingering wt. yarns, fun and easy.  They'd be great gifts.  I carried them to meetings with me and worked on them through my favorite TV shows. 

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I was excited when I saw that Wendy, the first knit blogger I ever read, was writing shawl patterns.  I've admired her work for years.  If you didn't read her blog back in her fair isle days, let me tell you that she was definitely the 'Queen of Steek'.  Such courage.  I could hardly wait to read her entries every morning. 

Miss BertramRaveled here and her sister shawlette, Miss Woodhouse, will accompany me to the CT Sheep & Wool Festival this Saturday.  She'll be representing Ball and Skein's Sophia, not on the website yet.  All of the newer yarn bases will be offered at the shows only until the end of May.  I think I need two of me.  I've been going non-stop for a couple months now and there is still much to do.  So much for that.. coffee, coffee, wine and listening to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (I never thought I would admit to enjoying it SO much), while I work.  But honestly... it is an awful lot of fun!


making yogurt, one more thing

... and the Friday Project Round-up

brr-rr......! The wind is howling out there.  It doesn't make me want to do outdoor things, that's for sure.  What a miserable day to try to move tropical plants.  It's the kind of day when we ask ourselves why this business?  I tried to set us up for the day with a hot breakfast of mixed grains, oatmeal and chopped apples cooked with cinnamon, topped with last night's fresh yogurt.   

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Every time I make yogurt I remind myself that there is one more thing I want to tell you about making yogurt.  Here goes.  Your starter is paramount.  Protect it.  Without some good yogurt put away, it is difficult to make a good next batch.  There's nothing magic about it.  Before I start eating a new batch, I fill a small glass jar with my fresh yogurt.  It gets stored away in the refrigerator.  The second thing I need to say about this is that I actually have two little jars stored.  One from each of the last two batches of yogurt I've made.  Call it insurance.  (This means that the first time, you will have to put away two little jars.) When I get ready to make a batch of yogurt, I take the oldest jar out for my starter.  For me, this means that it is probably about 1 1/2 weeks old.  However, There have been times when I've been away and my starter has waited for up to three months.  If the glass jars are full and capped, it probably will still work.  So, that's it.  Easy! 

The other thing I've been thinking about is a Friday posting regimen.  I want to make it easier for me to figure out what to post.  I'm thinking that Friday is a perfect day for the week's project round-up, a show of what I've been working on. 

Spindling: The cops I showed you earlier in the week turned into 200 yd. of a two ply lace wt.  It is soaking now. 

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Knitting:  I've wanted to knit Anne Hanson's Rivolo scarf.  It looked like perfect TV knitting, with only a small repeat of 9 sts. and 8 rows.  This is a project I can carry to meetings and enjoy while my aattention is divided.  I'd also recommend it to anyone thinking that lace is difficult.  Sweet and easy.  I'm knitting it in Ball and Skein's Elise, the Mist color-way.  Thanks, Anne for another enjoyable knit. 

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Spinning:  I've got a lot of that lovely carded merino done, but nothing since last Sunday.  Tomorrow. 


still onerva

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Onerva has been good company while watching the season premiers of some of my favorite shows.  What a relaxing knit.  It's been the project I pick up for 'a few rows' before bedtime.  After a few starts, I got the hang of the pattern and stopped worrying about the center stitches.  The pattern's always handy, just in case.  With a 30 row repeat, a bit of planning will have to happen soon.  I've got 6 1/2 repeats done and I'm figuring another 8 rows of edging in addition to the 20 odd rows left in this section.  The pattern, written in Finnish, wasn't as complete as I'm used to.   Maybe if I could have read it, but then again.. I couldn't.  Ravelry knitters were very helpful if you poked around the finished project notes. 

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The pattern starts at the center point, shown here as a very much rounded 'point'.  Ahem..  Really, though.. I think it will all be fine.


Hurry up, slow down

Labor Day Weekend.   It is hard to believe.  The summer was so cold and wet, that the past two beautiful weeks feel more like the beginning of the season than the end.  The end it is.  Migrating species are on the move.  As Laurie mentioned yesterday in her comment,  the male hummers are gone.  Each evening I walk to the field to count the night’s Canada Geese stopovers.  The energy level has upped a notch.  It is palpable.  The surge before the fall.  Hunting, and gathering.  Preparations for the seasonal change.  The moon is full and unbearably bright.  The only thing keeping it from waking me at night is that it is low enough in the sky to partially hide behind the still leafed trees.  Red squirrels are busy eating and dropping the pine cones from the highest branches.  Watch out below.  You’re likely to get bopped on the head.  I’m in a constant battle with my apple loving neighbors.  The deer aren’t waiting for the drops.  I saw a rustle of leaves out of the corner of my eye yesterday morning and thought the blue jays were busy pecking at the apples.   When I stopped to scare them away, there, instead, was a young buck, on hind legs, pulling at the red apples hanging within reach.  The wild trees are full.  The deer know the cultivars are sweeter.


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With so much activity, I wanted a project that was fairly easy.  Something to take onto the deck with me at the end of the day to relax.  Onerva looked easy and it is after you get going.  I had a bit of trouble figuring out if I had all the information I needed to begin.  Thank goodness knitting charts cross language barriers.  The notes and expanded charts from other knitters on Ravelry helped. 


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I chose a new yarn I’m trying for Ball and Skein.  It is a silk / sea silk blend, lovely to work with and a pleasure to dye.  It isn’t up on the site yet, it will be.  Silk can be slippery.   I wanted to use a needle with a bit of grab.  Not much, but a little bit to keep the stitches in place.   Knit Picks Zephyrs are perfect.  The points are sharp and the needles are very light weight.  That they are transparent tickles me every time I look at them.  They are sure to become a favorite of mine. 


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It promises to be a perfect weekend.  I’m planning on deck time, some kayaking and maybe even a walk in the woods.  No traffic for me.

Have yourself a good one.



last week

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Sometime last week, I finished Pompa.  The days of last week are blurred, melted together to be remembered as a week with family, doing things mostly together.  My niece, now a tall and slender 13 year old (need I say more) pleasantly surprised me by getting out of the car after a 12 hour drive, heading for the pond to check out, and catch frogs.  Whew!!  Maturity (??) had not dulled her skill and soon she had one in each hand.  I was SO afraid those days of kids in the pond were gone.  Almost.  Just not this year.  Though they knew that we don't have cell service, that was still the biggest disappointment.  I saw the two of them carrying their phones to assorted high up places in hope of catching that stray signal.  Trips out, away from this side of the kingdom were as much a time to upload all of the waiting messages and emails as adventures.  We managed to fit in two bike rides, one on the bike paths at Stowe, and another day spent on the trail that hugs Lake Champlain in Burlington.  There should be pictures, but.. I was too busy.  We ate.  My BIL made pies. And fudge.  Chris made pizza on the grill. Three pounds of dough makes a lot of pizza.  Yumm.. He's a master at it.

My nephew surprised me.  He's a new knitter.  By the time he left (with a small stash of his own), he was doing short rows, purl stitch, long tail cast on, and k2tog. along with the garter stitch he arrived with.  It was amazing to see how quickly he picked up the new skills.  Faster than I remembered.  We knit on the deck, on the raft, and while watching movies at night.  He's working on head wear to hold back his dreads.  New design ideas are already dancing around in his head.  A circular needle went along with him to try on the trip home.  It was fun.  In between, I worked on finishing Pompa.

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That head belongs to Sam, always ready to help.

Pompa held my interest all the way through.  I love the zig zag patterning.  I decided to knit it as long as the skein of yarn allowed.  It blocked at nearly six feet.  

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  • Pattern: Pompa by Anne Hanson
  • Yarn: Ball and Skein Elise
             50% merino / 50% silk
             375 yards  
  • Needles: KnitPicks Harmony #5

bright spots

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Pompa is a bit over 4 ft. now and still growing, more quickly now.  Finally, the pattern feels more natural to me and I glance at the chart less and less frequently.  It still amuses me to watch the zig zag pattern emerge.  I'm loving it.  My plan is to knit til I don't have enough yarn for another repeat.  I like my scarves longer than the pattern calls for.  It should be well over 60" when blocked.  The Poppy colorway has brightened many rainy days.  It isn't usually a color that I choose for myself.  Must have been all the gray, or maybe that the poppies on the hill behind the barn were blooming so brightly in contrast that inspired me to choose it over my more usual subtle color choices.

Today's sun (and the forecast for another few) have popped a couple other bright spots.

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Thanks to you that have emailed Vermont's governor.  As much as I hate to think it, I believe it is really (the quality of) two lives that are in the balance.  If you haven't read yesterday's post, please consider reading it and writing a short email on Peter and David's behalf.