My Adventures in Knitting, truly my Yarn-escape!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Wednesday's Yarns - Entering Into the Quiet

Project Peace 2017

Project Peace is a knit-along in December led by The Healthy Knitter.  This is the second year, I did it last year (Project Peace - 2016 a cowl) and it was wonderful!  21 days of knitting together and Chistina Campbell blogging on aspects of awakening peace within.  This year we're doing a scarf in a ripple pattern because she hopes that peace will ripple out towards the world for more world peace.

     As I do Project Peace 2017 I am trying to quiet my soul and enter into PEACE.  Some days I'm more successful than others.  And I want to remind myself to re-enter that quiet place.  The place where you actually have to strive to quiet your mind, your thoughts, your reminiscences (usually counterproductive negative ones) and stop.

  I find finding and acquiring peace as an active process I have to continually pursue and make myself behave. 

 But then there are glimpses of longer periods of peace attained.  Of thoughts corraled.

     Interestingly enough I don't grasp that peace until I've started to knit, or lay on the floor doing a combo of back exercises with some yoga, or when I'm walking down a hiking trail or remote road (where we live).  Peace comes when I've absorbed in a book also.  I once read that your brain enters a deeper place of rest when you engage in something like art or reading that takes you beyond this place called now.  You know the feeling.  You lose the sense of time.  Your brush strokes envelop you; the book becomes your landscape.  You and who you are gone, perhaps into the mists of time (a medieval book perhaps).  You become part of your book.  You disappear.  Without these areas to disappear in, without a creative outlet, my knitting, or baking a cake, I tend to stress.  I know I need these outlets for a peaceful existence.

To follow the Project Peace 2017 visit - The Healthy Knitter.  Just grab some stash or whisk on down to your LYS for some yarn.

     I finished my book yesterday and spent lots of time last night going over books I had downloaded, but nothing grabbed my interest.  Finally (a few minutes past my bedtime) I found the perfect book.  I think it's the way things are described that grabs my interest.  A musical sound to the words takes me immediately away.  This one did it.  We're standing in the courtyard of a church and there is a Spring breeze blowing over the wall, the swallows are making noises overhead and all are hushed because the first church marriage was taking place in years.  The sacredness of the moment is captured.  This is definitely a take me away somewhere else read: The Warrior's Wife (The Warriors Series Book 1) by Denise Domning.

"Call To Arms!" Edmund Blair Leighton

Edmund Leighton "God Speed!"

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Wednesday's Yarns and What's Up on Needles

      I had this plan.  Don't I always?  I wanted to clear my plate for the Project Peace 2017.  I've got my gorgeous Malabrigo Silky Merino and the needles, and all is ready for Friday, the start of the Project Peace.  But, I didn't quite get the right tone of burgundy I wanted from an order from KnitPicks last week for another "Just Knit It" scarf (my favorite scarf I wear around my neck).  So I went out and got a simple acrylic yarn to do it up fast (Lion's Heartland in Badlands), very nice and soft.  Meanwhile, my son's girlfriend gasped when she saw the yarn I had got from KnitPicks (Stroll Tonal Sock Yarn in Malbec) "Oh, I love that!" she says.  So I asked what she wanted in it.  And being a practical Mainer she said socks.  I've warned her I'm slow, but I do want to get them on needles today (even if they're done by Spring!).

     Then my son reminded me this morning how much he and Emily want those Boiled Fishermen's Mittens I'm making them for Christmas (I had intended to get them on needles Saturday).  So, they are getting started too.  He's right, two pairs, four mittens.  Not so hard, but I should start.  (My project details - Boiled Maine Mittens and the original article with the pattern made from the last mittens from an elderly lady who made these Fishermen's Mittens - Yankee Magazine "New England Boiled Wool Mittens" ).  Hum, I think I didn't clean my plate project-wise but stacked it!  Now, if I could organize my time better, and I'll just knit more.

      One way to get more knitting out of myself is to get a great Audible.  I have a few on my tablet now, but I bought the recommendation for me for this month - Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson.  I'm an Audible member so it was my free credit.  I'll listen and knit between my burgundy scarf, Boiled Wool Mitts, and Emily's Socks!  And I'll try not to drift to my pretty Malabrigo scarf I'm designing in Caribeno called "The Wave" (hopefully out by early Spring).

I'm still reading Trouble in High Heels (Fortune Hunter Book 1).  I wasn't sure at first, but I'm actually really enjoying it.  A handsome one night stand, meant to help Brandi get over a cheating fiance leads to unexpected results.  She's a new attorney and, guess what?  He's the client and a Monday morning surprise.  It's a fun read.


A freebie on Amazon Kindle today looks fun - The Templar's Cross: A Medieval Mystery (The Sir Law Kintour Mysteries Book 1) by J. R. Tomlin.  For more deals sign up for BookBub and specify your genre, they will e-mail you suggestions of free and really low-cost e-books you can buy.

     On Friday, December 1st, I might not have a free space to only work on the Project Peace 2017, but my heart, mind, and soul will definitely be absorbed with an effort to reach calm and peace.  So that my inner calm will touch others and ripple out.  It's a state of mind and intention and regardless of what I do, I'll apply it.  Afterall it isn't essential to finish the Ripples of Peace Scarf within 21 days but to embrace the concepts.  Every day for 21 days The Healthy Knitter will share tips on how to reach a more inward peace that can ripple out to touch our world and outward to the World.

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Unraveled Wednesday

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Wednesday Yarns and Thanksgiving Cooking


       I'm busy this Wednesday pulling together a Thanksgiving meal for my family  (a two-day process).  This year my son Jonathan and his girl Emily are here for their Winter Break (until January).  Both are Vegetarians and so am I, but my husband and youngest daughter expect Turkey. My husband is roasting that tomorrow morning.  I'm cooking up a lot of veggie side dishes that are my favorites.  A squash & yam dish with maple syrup and butter, mashed and baked.  Creamed chestnuts and mushrooms, a favorite of my Mom's that's a favorite family tradition.  I'll do the stuffing separately from the turkey and half will have fresh cranberries in it.  This morning I found a New York Times recipe for gravy - Vegan Mushroom Make-Ahead Gravy.  Today I'll do Apple Pie (with a Tbl. of cinnamon, my Mom's trick and crisp apples, thinly sliced).  I make my pies with a Pate Brisee (Butter Pie Dough) crust and I'll save some crust for tomorrow's Pumpkin Pie.

     I finally am getting back to my Medhel an Gwyns Shawl done in Lion's Thick & Quick in Fossil.

I'm also starting to work on some Coffee Cozies.  I love this one with the cable:

But I started with this simple "recipe" for a Coffee Cozy to start -

In December I'm doing 2017 Project Peace

     I also got my yarn for the Project Peace 2017 that starts December 1 and goes 21 days of peaceful knitting and reading The Healthy Knitter's blog posts about peace.  Cultivating peace within to radiate outward with ripples to others.  I will be knitting a wonderful shawl to knit in Malabrigo Silky Merino Yarn in Azules (lighter blues) and Mares (the dark yarn).


I just started a new book - Trouble in High Heels (Fortune Hunter Book 1)  It popped up in my emails as a $1.99 Kindle special so I went for it.  So far it's interesting, a far cry from what I've been reading, so the jury is still out on how I like it.  We'll see. GoodReads review - Trouble in High Heels

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Unraveled Wednesday

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wednesday's Yarns - Cowl's Galore

     I finished my cowl last week for a gift.  It came out perfect.  Only two days to knit and I'm a slow knitter.  Made from KnitPick's Swish DK Yarn.  It's very soft, only one skein needed and knit on size #7 fixed circular needles (KnitPicks).  I adapted the pattern Meriboo Cabled Cowl by Lisa Ellis, increasing the cast on stitches to 116 (with an extra stitch cast on to get a seamless edge, see TinCanKnit's Support page for how to cast on circular needles).  I changed the rib to 2 X 2 and the knit to a simple stockinette, so it be fast, simple and a smooth soft surface.  I'm really pleased and plan to get more yarn to make more of them for gifts.

     Meanwhile, I've started a new cowl for myself to match my "Ecology Hat" I made last year.  I'm using KnitPicks' Preciosa Tonal Worsted Yarn in Bonsai.  Amazingly soft yarn, great colors.  I'm casting on 110 stitches (plus one for a  jogless connect, see above note).  I plan to just knit so I get the same roll as the hat.  It's going to be fabulous!

     I started a new read in the Lynn Kurland series - This is All I Ask.  This one I read I think twice before, but it's so endearing, I just love it!  Mind you, I never re-read books, unless it's Diana Gabaldon or Karen Marie Moning, or Lynn Kurland.  So I guess time travel and romance and fantasy are always a good bet for returning to.  It seems books like this create a world you want to escape into and right now I need an escape world!!!

Peace Project 2017

     Last year I participated in the Peace Project 2016.  It was wonderful.  A beautiful cowl and a rhythmic knit and every day there was a peace tip for 21 days.  The thought being when peace is within it will ripple out.  This year the Peace Project will be a shawl with ripples and it was just unveiled today (a part of it to get started with getting supplies, the full pattern will be released start date December 1st.)!  Come join us.  Last year there were 200,000 participants.

Pattern - Peace Project 2017 by Christina Campbell

The Healthy Knitter Blog for more details

“Peace.. this we choose each day.”

— Anonymous

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Unraveled Wednesday

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Wednesday's Yarns - Christmas Gifts

     I'm starting to work on some Christmas cowls I started this summer.  One I ripped down because the stripes on the cowl just looked sloppy.  I started over with just the Blue Heather yarn.  But I'm glad I started over.  I also was using two different patterns.  The first one does look great - Very Gifted Cowl and I'd love to do it up some point with maybe a cashmere yarn KnitPicks carries - Bare Capra Yarn and tea stain dye it.  But instead, I was falling in love with the other cowl I was making Meriboo Cabled Cowl by Lisa Ellis.  It's a simple design with little cable twists.

      For one cowl I decided I wanted a plain look, so I opted for stockinette.  I also made a mistake on the cast on edge, instead of 1 x 1 rib I just went into autopilot and did a 2 X 2 rib and I didn't realize it till I compared the cowls.  I decided for this stockinette cowl it looks even better, giving the knit a bit of a ruffle, adding movement to the fabric.   But I do like the 1 X 1 rib for the twisted cable cowl.  For both cowls, I increased the stitches cast on.  For the plain stockinette one I increased by only 14 stitches and the other cabled cowl I increased by 20 to stay in pattern.  At this point, I don't know which works better, but I felt the original cowl would be a little too tight.

     I'm thinking of getting more of this amazingly soft yarn by KnitPicks, Swish DK Yarn and making more simple cowls for family and friends.  While I love the cable twists, to make more I want a mindless knit I can do and listen to Audible, or pause in my knitting to read my book or knit on while watching a show with my husband at night.  Mindless knits always win with me.  For an even more elegant, soft knit try KnitPicks' Capra DK Yarn, a merino wool blend with cashmere, also in many pretty colors, and on sale this month of November at KnitPicks.

Please note: If you make this cowl or any other item on a circular needle check out the TinCanKnit's Support page for how to cast on circular needles. Their technique stops the gap from happening between the beginning and end. A little tricky to master, but worth it. I just repeatedly pull on the yarn tail and casting on yarn so the connection is tight, a bit of a balancing act, be patient.

     I just started another Lynn Kurland book.  Did I mention I'm going to try and re-read her time travel romances?  My current book is Dreams of Lilacs.  It's great, as all her books are.  This time we're back in the 1200's.  Isabella, the youngest 23 yr. old daughter to Lord Rhys de Piaget is feeling restless, overlooked, and wanted by suitors only interested in her dowry.  She's overshadowed by many daring brothers who have gone on adventures, but she is always sent to the solar to sew.  Or so she tells her twin brother why she's ready for an adventure.  I think this is partially true, but there's a sinister plot afoot, someone has threatened her entire family in a missive she received from someone anonymously.  It tells her she must secretly travel from England to France alone and meet with him at an Abbey or else her family dies.  She clouts one brother on the head, dressed as a lad, sets sail and gets shipwrecked and her head gets hit in the process making her forget why she's there and who she is, for a while.  A fearsome Lord in France, who was grievously injured the year before, mistakes her for a boy and takes her in.  You can imagine the rest.  Lynn Kurland's tales are always laced with a bit of comedy, and tongue and cheek, daring adventures and sweet romance.

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Unraveled Wednesday

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Wednesday's Yarns - Almost Done

I've pushed myself all week to finish my Welcome Blanket in time for the November 4th deadline, but it's not going to happen, getting it in on time, that is.  I'm done with all the squares and now I need to tuck in loose ends.  Tomorrow I will get it sewn up and then I can get it shipped.  It'll be late, but the website says they'll find a home for it even if late and that was the main goal, giving it to an immigrant family.

     I'm still reading Lynn Kurland's All For You.  It's a fun romance, (or non-romance at the beginning) between an American visiting England and a Medieval scholar.  She's invited to a high-class weekend party by a Duke.  Imagining a fairy tale weekend she bumps into the seemingly boring professor, who just annoys her by being.  But her hopes and plans go awry and at Midnight she walks through a time gate into Medieval England, leaving behind a glass-like slipper.  The Medieval scholar (who has secretly been studying medieval swordsmanship) comes to the rescue.  Humourous, endearing tale.

     On Audible I've been listening to an amazing new book by Van Jones - "Beyond The Messy Truth".  I would highly recommend it!  The narrator is amazing, the views fresh and I'm just loving each chapter and new viewpoint.  The book offers a new approach to seeing the Democratic party, explaining how we've gotten into this mess now, how we can fix it and also encourages more across the aisle cooperation.  

"A passionate manifesto that exposes hypocrisy on both sides of the political divide and points a way out of the tribalism that is tearing America apart - by the CNN political contributor and host hailed as "a star of the 2016 campaign" (New York Times) who tries to "fight the right way" (New Yorker)." 

"Now, in Beyond the Messy Truth, Jones offers a blueprint for transforming our collective anxiety into meaningful change. Tough on Donald Trump but showing respect and empathy for his supporters, Jones takes aim at the failures of both parties before and after Trump's victory. He urges both sides to abandon the politics of accusation and focus on real solutions. Calling us to a deeper patriotism, he shows us how to get down to the vital business of solving, together, some of our toughest problems.

     "The entire national conversation today can be reduced to a simple statement - 'I'm right, and you're wrong,'" Jones has said. But the truth is messier; both sides have flaws. Both parties have strayed from their highest principles and let down their core constituencies. Rejecting today's political tribalism, Jones issues a stirring call for a new "bipartisanship from below". Recognizing that tough challenges require the best wisdom from both liberals and conservatives, he points us toward practical answers to problems that affect us all regardless of region or ideology: rural and inner-city poverty, unemployment, addiction, unfair incarceration, and the devastating effects of the pollution-based economy on both coal country and our urban centers." (Amazon Review)

Unraveled Wednesday

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Wednesday's Yarns - Rushing to Finish My Welcome Blanket

I'm pushing myself to get my Welcome Blanket done in time to mail it for the November 4th deadline.  I just couldn't afford all the yarn till last week.  So I'm making this short and posting a few pictures of what I have done at the end of the day and pushing on.

     I changed my color scheme after doing a few skeins of red and white (these pictures did not pick up the perfect red of the Lion's Thick & Quick Cranberry).  While beautiful, I needed some pizzaz, some change.  So I got more blue yarn and thought of a multicolored yarn but it was too busy looking in the mix.  I also had an unplanned change, Michaels had run out of their creme color and only had off-white with gold threads around it and I thought - Stars!  So the blue squares have sparkly white sides.  

It's turning out really nice and patriotic looking and I think an Immigrant new here would appreciate that!

PS - If you still want to do one they will be accepting more blankets into mid-December, yours just would be distributed and not on display at the Smart Art Museum in Chicago.

 Welcome Blanket

I'm onto another Lynn Kurland book - All For You.

From the Author's page -

"Falling through time is dangerous…
Peaches Alexander is thrilled to receive an unexpected invitation to a weekend party given by the handsome, eligible Duke of Kenneworth. The only problem: Stephen de Piaget, a stuffy medieval studies scholar who seems determined to get in the way. Peaches has absolutely no desire to get involved with Stephen, until a quirk of Fate sends her hurtling through time…"
Unless there’s someone to catch you…
Stephen de Piaget has been leading a double life: respectable professor by day, knight-in-training during holidays and summer terms. When Peaches goes missing, Stephen knows he’s the only one that can rescue her from medieval peril. Little do they know that the greatest danger they’ll face won’t be the business end of a sword, but their own unruly hearts…"
Tis lots of fun!

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