So I planned to do this blog on Wednesday, but you know….It was full of drama and pomp and circumstance, a few tears and a little nail biting. So here is my current, well one of them, project. This is my “Fibershed” sweater. It is all yarn made from my animals or those of partner farms within 100 miles, really within 20 miles. The dark is naturally colored wool, mohair and alpaca fleeces. The bright colors are all natural dyes on my mohair yarn.
The pattern is Shifty. I changed just about all of it. It’s supposed to be a pullover, but I wanted a cardigan. I added a steek and I’ll cut it apart after it’s blocked. It supposed to be sport weight and this yarn is closer to worsted. So I had to go up a couple of needle sizes and down a couple of sweater sizes. But it fits just fine. Thank you Kyle for suggesting this fix!!
I’m currently working on the sleeves. I’m doing these two at a time, in a way. I’m doing a group of blips and then moving to the opposite sleeve and doing the same blips on that side. That way I’m keeping better track of the decreases and I’m using the same color rotation.
I’m hoping to finish this within 3 weeks. Maybe sooner? I have to finish the sleeves, stabilize the steek with crochet, block, cut, figure out buttons and make button holes. I think I’m not going to do a button band but rather crochet loops. Then it will be done!!
Colder weather is here. We’ve had some snow. We’ve had some ice. We’ve had some dreary, dreary days. I am feeling like I want more tea and hot cocoa. I want to be cozy and cook cozy meals like stew and soup. I feel like spinning and knitting my locavore sweater. What I am wanting more right now is “hygge”. Have you heard of hygge (pronounced hoo-ga and rhymes with sugar)?
Hygge is a Danish word that cannot be directly translated. Hygge is the embodiment of coziness along with enjoying good times with great people. It means to take the time to experience your life. It means to slow down and pay attention. Sharing a latte with friends on Zoom is Hygge. Knitting is hygge. Filling your home with candlelight and earthy stews and soups is hygge. Taking time to read a book or listen to one of your favorite podcasts is hygge. Many people think that hygge is what makes Danish people the “happiest” people on earth.
But why am I writing about hygge now? It is a strange time. We have so many hopes and dreams all bundled up into 2021. We have some hope about the vaccine being given out. But at the same time, we are in bigger and bigger surges. Bill and I have been isolating and masking and washing and all of that, for so, so long. And I know that we will need to keep in this semi-isolated state for several more months. So for me, thinking about practicing Hygge is just what I need right now. I believe that it will make me feel like I’m taking care of myself. It will make me feel more present in my life. So if you feel like I do, make some hot cocoa and read a good book….Oh and knit some wonderfully hand dyed Flying Goat Farm yarn.
That’s my motto. I always have a pair of socks on the needles at my house. Oh did I tell you that I knit them 2 at a time on one circular needle? Well I do. I learned to do this many years ago. I prefer this for so many reasons. First, I hate DPN’s. I have a hard time managing stitches on them and typically lose stitches off the back side of the needles. Secondly, I never have to worry about the second sock syndrome. I will always have a matching or someone matching pair of socks. They will be the same length and the same width. The gauge will be the same for both socks.
This is the pair on my needles right now. Truth be told, I haven’t knit on these for a month or so, since I’m focusing all my knitting time to my Shifty sweater. These socks are made with our Chinook Sock Base which is a blend of superwash merino, cashmere and nylon. And they are so soft and great. Because there’s nylon in there, they should were well too.
Want to learn how to knit socks 2 at a time? I have a class for that. Click here to find out about it. I have EARLY BIRD pricing on that until Sunday at midnight. The class is totally self study. There are 4 parts from cast on to bind off. And you have access for 60 days which should be plenty of time to knit your socks. You just need a skein of yarn (or a sock blank), a stitch marker and a circular needle of 32-40″ in length. I prefer to use size 1 US needles for fingering weight yarn. But pick the needles that work with the yarn you are using.
I’ve been missing helping people put yarn combos together. It’s part of what I love about in person festivals and now my open studio days. And there are some of you who are just not close. But last week, I had the fun and pleasure of helping Kathleen pick out some yarn from afar. She wanted to use my Cacao mohair yarn and to pair it with my synergy yarn for a pop of color. Here’s how it started:
Then we narrowed it down to these 2:
And finally she picked out the Carribean and Majesty Synergy yarns for a shawl. It’s funny how you don’t know what will really tickle your fancy until it just hits you!! That was so fun. We did this in Facebook Messenger. But you can also set up a personal shopping session on Facetime or Zoom. Just shoot me an email and we can start from there!!
Okay….now the wait begins. We may know who is president this week. But we may not. There may be recounts. There may be legal challenges.
In the meantime, how are you feeling? I’m feeling pretty anxious. I’m feeling scared. I’m feeling angry too. I’ve seen a lot of news coverage about election anxiety so I know that I’m not alone. If you’re my friend on Facebook, I’ve seen you all expressing your feelings too. I’m right there with you.
I know that for me making something whether it be a sock, a sweater, a felted soap, the making is meditative. It is calming. It helps me to focus on the task at hand. It calms my heart. It stops the loud voices in my head.
So today, I’ll be knitting on my sweater. I’ll be designing a new holiday colorway. I’ll be staying away from the news. I’ll be listening to music that makes me happy.
Are you between projects? Or do you need a nice new project that is calming….not to hard, but still beautiful? I have 2 colorways for my shawl kit: Maryland My Maryland shawl now available again after a hiatus since last year. Click here to grab one for yourself.
Finally, take care of yourself. Find peace. Make something.
Well, I do think it’s time to get started with those holiday gifts. I’ve got some great yarns that will make fantastic gloves, mittens and fingerless mitts.
Our Livily Cormo yarn is a worsted weight yarn that will make wonderful knits for your hands. It’s sister, Trasna, is just a little thinner….as a heavy DK.
I have a mitten pattern available as well. You just pick the color and I’ll add the pattern (just mention mitts in the comment section of your order) and you can get a head start on at least one gift. You can find the pattern here on Ravelry.
I also have some quick fingerless mitt kits available. These kits contain the pattern and a skein of mohair yarn. There are 4 colors available for you to choose from.
I’m live every Thursday at 1pm on Facebook. I hope you’ll join me. Today I showed the update of my No Rhinebeck Sweater. I’m nearly finished with the first sleeve. I also had an epiphany about needles. And I wanted to share. I share my favorite needles, some needles I hate and a circular needle keeper.
So many of you are following my progress on my #norhinebecksweater. I was talking about on my facebook Thursday Thrums yesterday (do you know I am live on Facebook every Thursday at 1pm?)
In case you missed it, I am making my no rhinebeck sweater from handspun lamb fleece from my Cormo/Blue Faced Leicester sheep. It’s been in the works for 3 years. I know, it’s a long time. But I’m finally making the sweater. I have the body mostly done. BUT, I was afraid that I didn’t have enough yarn. So I put the body on a cable with stoppers on it and started to work on the sleeves. And if I do run out, at least I’ll have the sleeves done and if I must use another yarn, it will only be for the ribbing. Smart, right? It took me a while to figure that one out. But I’m in progress.
So as I’m doing this, I realized that I LOVE top down sweaters! Why? Because I can try it on at every step. I can see if the body is long enough. I can see if the sleeves are decreased enough. I can do that over and over again. And when I’m finished, I KNOW it will fit and it will be exactly what I wanted to make.
How do you find one? Well I do a ravelry search. I know there’s lots of controversy about ravelry right now, but it is still the biggest repository of patterns. I search for a sweater: cardigan. I pick construction: top down. I pick the yarn I’m using: worsted. The algorithm whittles and whittles until you get a set of patterns to choose from. At that point I have 1591 patterns to choose from. I wanted steeks and colorwork so that whittled it down to only 19 choices. And I was good with that. I found 3-4 that were possibles for me.
So if you are looking to start a sweater, please consider a top-down sweater for a more pleasant experience and a more fitting and flattering sweater.
I just dropped Episode 7. It’s all about how to pick the right yarn for your next project. I start with some of the questions I ask myself as I’m dreaming of a new project. Don’t you love starting something new? I do! I do think it’s like dreaming. There is the entire world of garments and yarns and colors and weights to choose from. Yes, it can be overwhelming. But there are still some parameters.
In this podcast I talk about what I’ve learned about picking yarns for cables and laces. I talk about when to sure semi-solids and when to use variegated yarn. I want to help you to start a project that will be enjoyable and will meet your expectations. For instance, for both cables and lace stitches, you need to have yarn that is stretchy. You also need to have yarn that will hold its shape when it is blocked.
Are you knitting for a picky person: toddler, teenager or senior? Are you knitting something that is fitted or something like a shawl where size doesn’t really matter? You have to take these into consideration.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how I live every day during these pandemic times. How many times do I get up and walk around the house or around the block…well our “block” is 25 acres of trees, grass, deer and rocks.How many times have I walked to the fridge or the pantry as a way to use up time or quell some anxiety or to relieve some boredom. If that is you too, watch this great video.
I’ve been thinking about being the slowest knitter in the world too. I have to say that my stitching isn’t that slow. No, really it’s that my time over the target, at the needles, is really limited. It’s not that I don’t have time either. It is about building the habit of knitting every day.
This week I am combining these 2 areas of my life and working towards a healthier life. If you have been reading lately, you know about my #norhinebecksweater. This is a handspun, colorwork, steeked cardigan. I want it to be done by the time that Rhinebeck really would be happening. That’s the 3rd week of October.
I consistently look for snacks at 3pm….you know….an after school snack. Geez.. how many years has that been a habit? So from 3-5pm, I will be knitting on my sweater. This solves 2 problems. I have more time at the needles. It’s built into my day. AND I won’t be snacking, because my hands and mind are occupied. There won’t be anxiety, well only a little bit when I wonder if I have spun enough yarn for this sweater. And I will not be bored. I can not eat because my hands are busy. It is a win-win. I’m in my 10th day today. I know it takes 28 days to form a habit, but I’m 40% finished with that. And I don’t suppose that this sweater will take 18 more days, but who knows, maybe it will. If I finish this, I’ll pick up another unfinished project. I’m feeling better already!!
What are you knitting these day? Anyone working on a No Rhinebeck Sweater? I’d love to be accountability partners if you are!!
Where to find us
Open by Appointment! Email me for an appointment or FACETIME
We are located in Frederick MD. You can shop in person with a mask and lots of social distance! Or buy online and stop by to pick up…I’ll run your purchases out to you in your car.
Next Open Studio:
February 13rh from 11am to 4pm With afterhours zoom meeting from 4-5pm EST