Lovely Yarn Escapes

My Adventures in Knitting, truly my Yarn-escape!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Yarns: Project Peace and The Honey Cowl


 My Honey Cowl on top of my Great Grandmother's Saratoga Trunk

     My yarn for Project Peace never arrived.  It might be lost in its travels; it disappears on the tracking last Wednesday in Indiana.  It's from KnitPicks and they've always been fast, but it was Black Friday weekend, so...  But Project Peace 2018 started Saturday, December 1st.  So I remembered this lovely green KnitPicks Preciosa Tonal Worsted I had two skeins of.  And I immediately found a simple but lovely cowl that's long and will be perfectly snuggly to wear called Honey Cowl.

© madelinetosh

 It's also all right if it takes forever.  I'm simply doing a bit here and there and still focusing on my two gifts I need to finish.

     Project Peace 2018 has so far been a lovely string of daily blog posts by The Healthy Knitter.  We're dwelling on different "P's" to process PEACE in our lives.  For me, I thought of PERSISTENCE as a necessary element for me.  I constantly have to remind myself to reach for peace, persist when I fail and retry over and over again.  Present was a very good word introduced at the beginning of the week.  We need to BE, AWAKE, aware, here in the now.  And yesterday a reminder to walk that can bring peace, a time to reflect.  Today the word is positive words for affirmations.  So whether you knit along or not join us on this peace journey.  December 21st. is a peace knit-athon where everyone is encouraged to knit that day, together in peace. (The Healthy Knitter post full of details: THK Project Peace 2018)
"The KAL culminates on December 21, World-Wide Knit for Peace Day. The 2018 Project Peace pattern symbolizes 'seeds of peace' representing that age-old wisdom that one simple seed, one peaceful act, can nurture others, growing and cultivating the peace we all seek. Blog posts will offer simple steps readers/knitters can take to create more peace and harmony in their own life, even as simple as enjoying a 20-minute walk in the outdoors." Project Peace 2018

  I tried to read "The Music Shop", again.  I do really love it, but I got hooked on this apocalyptic book series "After the EMP: Survival in a Powerless World" Boxset by J.S. Donovan.  Totally I put it away for a whole day because of the violence.  I had just started the second half of the series.  Same EMP disaster, new characters in another location.  I kept reasoning with myself.  I'm doing Project Peace 2018, I need to read peaceful stuff.  Or, the violence can't be good for you, my mind told myself.  But like a kid, I wanted to know what was going to happen.  I think I reasoned it out that I'm much more peaceful enjoying myself and it's a fun read (violence notwithstanding).  I really feel like I'm acknowledging an addiction to junk food here.  But I've tried and I will get back to good reads, soon.  I promise.  I just need just a bit more of this adrenaline pumping fun read.

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Sunday, December 2, 2018

Yarns - Right Turns and More Adventures in Black Bean Dyeing


Feb. 2018 Black Bean dyeing

     You know when you have your mind set on something and then nothing works out and you get down and discouraged?  My yarn didn't arrive for my Project Peace 2018, then honestly things were tight this week and to spend $5 for a pattern when we needed to buy food, well it wasn't going to happen.

     Project Peace 2018 started December 1st and it's my third year doing it.  We knit something peaceful and The Healthy Knitter posts lovely posts on how to personally reach for more peace in our lives, in hopes this would ripple out to the world.  I have found this project significantly affecting me every year.  Just the determined effort to focus on peace helps to bring more peace to my soul and it means a lot to me to do it again.  I'm reading the posts on peace, but on the knitting side, I'm a tad snarled, but as I think it through and make different choices, I feel better.  More settled, at peace.  Also, the act of writing this out helps (interesting) and makes it seem really, in the end, a very small deal.

     So these were my plans: because I couldn't swing the pricey but gorgeous yarn, I had plans of dyeing my Bare Sport Stroll Yarn yarn a light blue with black beans and then doing a light tea stain over parts of it to try and copy the colorway "Dove".  I'm still going to do it, but I'm accepting I need to rethink things a bit since the yarn hasn't arrived and my dyeing efforts are hitting some problems this time.  Even if all things go well, this yarn won't be dry till next week!

Feb. 2018

     But I started my Black Beans soaking for a blue dye in the hopes the bare yarn would come soon, and I knew testing the dye would be a good idea.  Wow, I did not realize that when I did my Black Bean dyeing last winter that I managed to do it flawlessly without hitting some pitfalls.  This time (thankfully with just little samples) I hit the mistakes!  Last year's Black Bean Dyeing - "Feeling The Blues" I go over lots of details on how to do it.  But now I've got a few pitfalls to avoid.

Last year's Black Bean dyed sweater

     First of all, I tied my little samples with that beautiful orange yarn that I had leftover from the A Sockhead Hat.  Guess what?  Orange yarn mixed with black beans water makes GREEN yarn!  Maybe that should have been obvious, a newbie mistake.  By the way, if you want a great green with Black beans add something copper (lots of help and hints like that in an ongoing thread on this Ravelry group "Plants To Dye For" - Color Variations for Black Beans).

February 2018

     Next mistake.  I remember using a very fine mesh sieve when I first took out my water after the beans soaked.  I just scooped this time.  Also last time I maybe I let the bean water sit a little longer after the last stir.  I'm trying 2 - 3 hours this time to let the bean debris settle.  Any bit of that bean debris and your yarn goes grey!  (To really understand what I'm talking about you need to read last year's post about Black Bean Dyeing  "Feeling The Blues", that is if you want to do it yourself.  Lots of details, but I read tons of blogs and a 9-year-old thread to understand the process.)

     Another possibility, which I'm not sure of is, are my beans too old?  My husband got me bags of beans when I experimented at the beginning of this year.  Beans last forever dried in terms of cooking them for eating, but are the outsides more crumbly?  I don't know.  So I'm now experimenting with half a bag.  Trying to cut down the proportion of bean I'm using to water for a lighter blue.  If after all that I get a cloudy water, I'll do a test and see what results I get.  I seem to remember one batch last year was cloudy a bit but worked fine.  But if I still get a bad result I'll get some organic beans from a local organic shop.  Expecting this to take a few days.

(KnitPicks is out of Preciosa now but will be reintroducing it in new colors this coming year)


     So while I'm waiting for my yarn I'm doing some thinking.  Project Peace 2018 started yesterday December 1 and goes for 21 days.  With dyeing and drying, I don't expect the yarn to be ready till next weekend.  So I did grab some beautiful green yarn I just discovered I have two skeins of and I'm starting a nice long and simple cowl called  Honey Cowl in Knit Picks Preciosa Tonal Worsted in a green called Bonsai.  It looks simple, a rhythmic knitting and will definitely be warm and cozy in Preciosa yarn.  I also discovered I have no green scarf or anything for December for my neck!  Yes, I have this thing about being color coordinated for the season.  I need green, of course it'll probably be done sometime into the next year!

     And when my yarn arrives and I figure out how to dye it light blue, then I'll add a light tea stain in places.  When it dries I'm thinking of doing a shawl instead.  A pretty shawl that I love the name and design.  I think it'll be a nice peace knit, that'll probably take me through the winter.  Maybe I need a long Peace Knit this year.  I actually found the effort to read about peace and focus on it had a big impact on me.  Just getting my hands on my project reminded me to almost "reset" to peace.  So I press on, my word yesterday for PEACE being Persistence.  It's just the right word.

February 2018 Black Bean dyeing

Want to try your hand at Black Bean Dyeing? Check out my adventures in dyeing: 

"Yarns - Feeling the Blues (Dyeing with Black Beans)"

Feb. 2018

Feb. 2018

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Yarns - Preparing For Project Peace and My TGV Shawl

     I started a TGV in September, but with gift knitting, it's taken a back seat.  I'd grab it almost every day and do one row.  It's so soft and squishy in KnitPicks Preciosa Tonal Worsted in a deep blue and I really had a hard time letting go every time, but I pressed on with my gift knitting.  To my surprise, it's actually grown!  Probably because it's a worsted yarn on #8, but I'm pleased.  It's a joy just to hold.  (Please note Preciosa Tonal Yarn is out at KnitPicks now and I read that they will be offering it again this new year in new colors.  I did notice that there is Bare Preciosa Worsted available if you want to try your hand at dyeing yarn.)   

     Update from yesterday's blogging.  I realized I was getting too big today on my TGV Shawl.  I'm supposed to knit half my skein and then weigh it and switch to the rib then, but my scale is a kitchen scale and not reliable.  So because this skein is 273 yds. of worsted and the original pattern suggests 100 grams sock yarn (about 400 yards) I figured I didn't have enough for the whole shawl.  I had planned to finish my shawl with another skein of something and just knit till I was finished with this skein.  Then today I vaguely remembered there was a suggestion that you can knit till the middle is 7" and then switch to the flange.  I'm over by almost 2" and I'm about to rip out!  Hopefully, I have plenty to finish the ribbing part or I'll still get another skein of something like Malabrigo's yarn in Whales Road and finish it.

Multi-Colored Noro TGV

I've gotten far with my Sockhead Slouch Hat in Patons Croy Sock yarn in Celestial.  And I'm not mentioning the recipient, just in case the person is reading this.

Hat knit for son in color Canyon (Maggie my daughter the model).

Project Peace 2018


     For the third year, I'm doing the Project Peace, a 21 day Knit-Along where we knit on a peaceful project and read blog posts from The Healthy Knitter on attaining peace and passing it on.  Project Peace 2018 is a cowl this year and planting seeds of peace is the theme.  You can do a one loop cowl (my choice) or a double loop.  I tend to lag behind so I choose the shorter project to give me more peace, less stress.

     But this year I couldn't get the expensive yarn but I fell in love with the look of the yarn.  So I ordered some Bare Stroll Sport Yarn and I'm going to Black Bean dye it very light blue and also add beige areas with a tea stain to try and make it look like this:

Hedgehog Fibres Sock Yarn in Dove

     Talk about getting sidetracked and with a genre, I've rarely read before!  Except for last year I read Nora Robert's "Year One: Chronicles of The One" Book 1, which was good, I don't usually go for dour Apocalyptic books, but this was advertised in Facebook for .99c and I wanted something different and maybe exciting.  I got it.  It's non-stop action, just when one situation is wrapped up, another crisis hits.  A real adrenaline pumper!  "After the EMP: Survival in a Powerless World" Boxset by J.S. Donovan. 

     I am really enjoying this book, but it is very violent.  So much so I guess I don't really connect with the violence as real, so it doesn't bother me.  But what does bug me is the basic premise the book is founded on.  That if a disaster happened then with the collapse of society most people would go violent and crazed.  And I can't help wonder well what about those that do good after a disaster?  Or people who try to organize and recreate an orderly existence when all falls apart?  I mean yes, there are those that loot.  But I believe better of humankind, that many would also rise up and try to do good.  Bind people's wounds.  Create a temporary government.  So while I'm enjoying the character, a tough Army reserve supply sergeant and her teenage boy and the interaction with her estranged husband who wants to get their family together, I don't believe society would collapse like that.  Yes, life could be tough without creature comforts like electricity, but that doesn't mean we'd shoot each other up.

     Oh, and about my violent action filled book; I've given myself till the Project Peace starts on December 1st. to finish this series of books.  I can't go from clutching my armrests (or knitting) while reading to trying to attain peace.  I have cued up more peaceful books on my tablet.  One on nature, another on decluttering.  Or I'll get back to reading about hiking the Appalachian Trail.  Something to take me away.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Yarns - Thanksgiving Cooking and Knitting and Reading Breaks


     How to cook for Thanksgiving. Chop, prepare, Bake, mix and knit for a while and read, resume and redo all over again.  So many times in my life my knitting and reading are my refuge.  And a definite stopping point.

 Details on today's knitting - Yarns - A Shawl Amidst Gift Knitting

Autumn Ridge Shawlette in Malabrigo Mechita in Cielo Y Tierra
Sockhead Slouch Hat in Patons Croy Sock yarn in Celestial

      So I'm taking a break sometime today to snap a picture and then press on.  Which I might literally be doing.  Pressing my dough today.  My husband after several weeks of anti-biotics last winter became gluten intolerant. So this Thanksgiving I need to make a gluten-free pie crust with almond and rice flour.  The sad part is my Pate Brisee was so perfect, before with A.P. four (I added 1 Tbl. cider vinegar).  I have a feeling the gluten free will not roll out.  But I'm pressing on.  Husband loves my apple pie.

     I cleaned out all my Kindle downloaded books and samples one night (clearing half of them out) and came across this cute book, a romance with a knitting theme - "How to Knit a Heart Back Home: A Cypress Hollow Yarn Book 2".  It's the second in a series, but I already had it so it was a good choice late at night.  It's a fun tale about Lucy who runs the bookshop and seems unassuming but also is an on-call paramedic.  She and a whole slew of characters knit in this town that is famous for Eliza Carpenter, a made up legendary knitter like Elizabeth Zimmerman.  The beginning of every chapter has a quirky pithy quote from Eliza.  The story starts with a bang (you'll see) and the bad boy from High School is on the scene and, of course, love ensues.  Cute and funny and fun to read a story with knitting stories knit in.

     The first book looks good too - "How to Knit a Love Song: A Cypress Hollow Yarn Book 1".  Both books are inexpensive, $2.99 on Kindle.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Yarns - A Shawl Amidst Gift Knitting

      I think knitting on my shawl is a gift to me as I squeeze it in among knitting gifts. 

      It's not very big so far, but it gives me joy.  The new pattern Autumn Ridge Shawlette out in August 2018 hasn't been discovered and it should be!  It's a little gem of a pattern hiding in plain sight, just waiting to be discovered!  It's got a great texture, variety to hold your interest, and as it grows the simple rows of knitting are relaxing.  I'm in love with it and I hope other's give it a try.  Ravelry Project Notes: Autumn Ridge Shawl.

     One gift I'm working on and should just have enough time to finish before Christmas is a Sockhead Slouch Hat.  I made one for my son this summer, intending it to be a Christmas gift but because he was Salmon fishing in Alaska I sent it to him early to keep warm (yes, and now I'm busy on another gift for him).  I hear he wears it all the time.  It looked great on him when we Skype with him the other day, and I hear that his girlfriend steals it at times!  Little does she know I've been busy making her one.

     They're great made out of Patons Kroy Sock Yarn.  They go up in a month for me if that's all I'm doing (I'm a slow knitter).  But the knit is automatic enough that I can knit and read at the same time.  If the book's not on a tablet I use a large hair clip or this Leather Book Weight my mom got for me decades ago from The Vermont Store (thankfully they tend to carry the same old-fashioned items over time and it's still there).

     I'm still reading "The Girl You Left Behind" by Jojo Moyes and enjoying this book about a painting in WW I and then a hundred years later.  When I finish I'll be moving onto a book I missed last year in the Book of the Month club and I regretted not getting.  Then it showed up on sale on BookBub and I quickly downloaded it.  "The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce is a quirky romance that takes place in a music shop in a dilapidated part of town, but the owner has an uncanny sense of what a person needs to hear.  Goodreads - "The Music Shop"

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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Yarns: A Fall Shawl


     I've missed working on a shawl, specifically on size #6 needles and with Malabrigo yarn.  These are my favorite go-to knitting ingredients and I'm a shawl fanatic with one wrapped around my neck at all times.  I have a personal goal of actually having all the different colors of shawls I need to complete an outfit; which might just be jeans or stretch pants but the shawl gives it a classy edge and keeps my neck warm.

Previous Shawls:

      I picked out a Fall toned Malabrigo yarn last year, but I couldn't swing it then.  I'd stare at the color photo of yarn and promised myself, one day.  So I finally got my yarn Malabrigo Mechita Yarn - Cielo y Tierra in September and then I needed the perfect pattern.  I had considered Citadel by Janina Kallio which I love:

© Janina Kallio

 But when I saw the new pattern Autumn Ridge Shawlette by Lilybet Designs it was love at first sight.  

© Lilybet Designs
© Lilybet Designs

     Also, my chosen patterns need to not only look right, but they need that quality of easy, simple, rhythmic knitting.  I think my most successful knitting has been where I can rest in the process and read a book at the same time.  It's therapeutic, a meditative quality to just knitting, almost mindlessly.  I think this pattern will fit the bill and add enough different patterns to add interest also.

     I've returned to reading "The Girl You Left Behind" by Jojo Moyes, my fourth book by her.  She's a great writer and I love her choice of words and descriptions.  Now we're in Northern France at the beginning of WWI, the Germans invaded 18 months before, they barely eat.  Sophie is dreaming...

"I was still dreaming of food. Fresh baquettes, the flesh of the bread a virginal white, still steaming from the oven, and ripe cheese, its borders creeping towards the edge of the plate. Grapes and plums stacked high in bowls, dusky and fragrant, their scent filling the air. I was about to reach out and take one, when my sister stopped me. "Get off" I murmered. "I'm hungry". "Sophie. Wake up." I could taste that cheese. I was about to have a mouthful of Reblochon, smear it on a hunk of that warm bread, then pop a grape into my mouth. I could already taste the intense sweetness, smell the rich aroma. But there it was, my sister's hand on my wrist, stopping me. The plates disappearing, the scents fading. I reached out to them but they began to pop like soap bubbles." p. 3  

     I haven't got far.  I know the book revolves around a painting of Sophie by her husband (who is at The Front) and the second half of the book moves forward in time, almost a century to someone who receives the painting as a wedding gift.  Loving the book.

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