Lovely Yarn Escapes

My Adventures in Knitting, truly my Yarn-escape!

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

My Saldo and "The Secret Life of Vivian Grant"


     I was happy to discover a new shawl pattern this past Memorial weekend.  I'm always looking for a design that has a peaceful knit that I find rhythmic and soothing.  This shawl had the extra bonus of having a lace insert for some more interesting knitting.  Saldo by Jacqui Pirotta leaped out at me from my Ravelry search and I was doubly glad to see it was a June 1st pattern (and this was the 31st of May!).  Later I figured it out, she's Australian and she hit June before I.  But I love getting something new and hot off the presses.

At first there were lots of rip outs just starting but the designer was very helpful and ended up adjusting the pattern so now it's very clear and smooth sailing.

Jacqui Pirotta

     My Saldo is being knit up in Malabrigo Arroyo in a teal.  Arroyo is advertised as Sport in some places, DK in others.  I think it's more DK. Lately I also like knitting in DK because the needles are a bit more comfortable and the knitting itself goes up faster.  I'm knitting it up on a #7 needle, one up from the recommended #6; but I think #8 for this yarn also would be good. Actually by the end of today I decided I'm ripping out and starting over with #8 needles.  I knit tight and I find the resulting fabric of my knit too tight and uncomfortable in my hand on #7.  I prefer a looser knit, it'll feel softer. 

     I've been reading some amazing books lately.  I finished "The Guest Book" by Sarah Blake and I'm in love.  I just want to read it again.  The Goodreads review is here: "The Guest Book".  The book takes place on an Island off of Vinalhaven, a Maine Island out my window. Another review: "The Guest Book"     

     My current read is "The Secret Life of Violet Grant" by Beatriz Williams, an author I've previously read and love.  She doesn't disappoint.  The novel jumps from 1964 to 1914 often, between Vivian and her great aunt Violet.  We're sucked in immediately after a mysterious luggage is sent to Vivian Schuyler in New York City in 1964.  A daughter of the wealthy Schuylers she has decided to live in a more shabby place and work to pay her way.  She aspires to be a writer for a magazine.  She's very funny, vivacious and definitely a modern woman who's story itself is very fun.  The trunk was her great aunt's who no one knew about (or didn't talk about) named Violet Schuyler.  She left for Europe in 1911 and went to Oxford to study as a scientist.  She marries her professor, and they go to Germany and all anyone knows is the professor, a somewhat famous scientist is murdered.  The wife is the suspect and she escapes with her lover and no one heard from her again.  So I'm unraveling the mystery but I'm enjoying reading about Vivian the most.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Catching Up


     It's been awhile.  Spring has seemed to arrive and the past wintery month passed quickly.  My midweek day off is Wednesday and I've crowded it with projects I wanted to get done and skipped blogging.  This is a quick catch up.

     Last month I finally tied in my lose threads on a sweater I finished knitting back in January.  Then I put the final touches, the lovely silvery buttons I got with waves on it to symbolize that this is my first Maine sweater.

     The pattern is Felix Cardigan.  I did it in an extra long version but the short cropped version is adorable.  Perhaps one day I'll do it.  I knitted it up in a deep cranberry colored Baby Alpaca called Herriot Great by Juniper Moon Farm in Cherry Red.  Soft, so soft, but it is prone to stretch and I should of compensated for that.  It's very big, but comfy.  


     I'm very busy trying to finish up some tempestry projects that I'll explain later.  Basically knitted wall hangings of 2 time periods for a National Park in Maine.  I'm hoping to have them done by May or June for summer. We'll see.


     Lately I'm deep into Linda Greenlaw's mystery series with Jane Bunker that are set in Maine.  This is the author that was a Swordboat Captain in a boat in the book and movie "The Perfect Storm".  I've read another autobiographical book of hers "The Hungry Ocean" and it was great!  Now I started with book 3 in the series "Shiver Hitch" because I found it at a second hand shop last year and it takes place in February on one of the islands out across the way, so I saved it for this winter.  She's renamed things so I'm not sure which Island it is (Mt. Desert Island is Acadia Island for example).  The author lives on Isle au Haut across from Mt. Desert.  After I finished the 3rd book I wanted to read the whole series, so I ordered the first book "Slipknot" from Amazon and while reading that I got the rest of the series and practically every book she's published from BetterWorld Books.  A St. Patty's Day sale and low prices got me inspired.  For some reason my bank thought they owed me money from years before.  Not one to argue about my mini windfall I spent it on Linda Greenlaw books; 2 mysteries, 2 autobiographical books on being a swordfishing captain again and then Lobstering, a book on unexpectedly becoming a mom to a teen, a very fun sounding book of short fishing stories told at a local bar and 2 cookbooks of Maine bounty (one of summer fare that I'm especially looking forward to being a Pescatarian, I eat Veggies and Fish).  I should get my books any moment now (they arrived as I'm editing this).  I couldn't wait after book 1, so I downloaded book 2 "Fisherman's Bend" and that has been a very good read.  It's calling to me now and I've got to go.  If I'm too busy to blog it doesn't mean I've disappeared, it just means I'm getting stuff done (like finally baking my Sourdough bread again).  I'll be back.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Line Break Shawl

      I once worked in a kitchen store and a customer walked in with a beautiful Burgundy scarf around her neck.  I got the name of the design and eventually found it.  Years later I got Malabrigo Mechita Whales Road.  Here many years down the road I got my yarn out of stash and started my Line Break Shawl.  I can't help marvel how as crafters we must inspire others just by doing and wearing our art.  You never know if maybe you inspire someone somewhere to create something because of a memory of what you wore or did.  A simple lesson on passing on the positive in our lives in words and actions.

© Veera Välimäki

     I'm having fun reading a Linda Greenlaw mystery "Shiver Hitch" set in Maine and in the Knox County where I live.  Her protagonist Jane Bunker is an assistant sheriff and an insurance investigator too. (Funny coincidence is my elderly client is an ex policeman for Camden, my town. I can pick his brain for real life scenarios).  Jane lives on the Island across the way in the mythical town of Green Haven.  For real life the author was the lady swordfish boat captain in The book and movie "Perfect Storm".  I hear she runs a lobster boat now and lives somewhere close.

     I found the book last year before moving to Maine in a second hand store.  I saved it for a snowy February day since the book opens to a very snowy Maine day in February.  So far a fire on Acadia Island (really Mt. Desert Island) and a body is found.  Having fun reading a book taking place here where I am and I went ahead and ordered the first book in the series through Amazon second hand. For about $5 I get a hard back in good condition, free delivery and it'll probably be here this weekend.  With a hardback book I can clip the book and knit happily while reading.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Alpaca Hoodie

     I've been working on a Hoodie for my son from Baby Alpaca.  The pattern is a funky one called the Bottle Rocket and the design has a pouch and bottle pocket but I'm not doing those.  The yarn is %100 Baby Alpaca and I was told by my yarn shop owner that it could grow in length since it isn't wool.  So I started out M and when I found that out I modified it to a size small. My son is tall 6ft man but thin and likes tight sweaters.  So to compensate I'm knitting a bit tight.  I think I'm running around 42 - 43" so hopefully it'll be alright.

     The original purpose of going 100% Alpaca was to learn about the fiber.  I love it.  It's very soft, incredibly so.  But I guess it doesn't hold a structure as well as wool.  So learning is a good thing and I'm sure my son will get an amazingly soft and warm hoodie.  
Alpaca fibers are hollow and warmer than wool and also waterproof.  Perhaps the ideal is a wool alpaca blend that is soft enough and I've heard the length of the alpaca fibers can determine softness, so I'll be looking (and feeling) my way forward for soft yarn but that also holds it's shape.

     This Alpaca is Herriot Great by Juniper Moon and I would highly recommend it.  I'm also finishing up a sweater that I made for myself that is so soft, but bigger than I intended.  I should of knitted a bit tighter but my skin is sensitive so the trade off for perhaps less stability is fine with me.  I think I'm learning how to adjust my knitting.  I've heard that this bulky yarn is really good for scarves and more free form items.  I did make some lovely mittens with it.

     While knitting I've used a large hairclip to clip my book to read and knit at the same time.  My habit of wanting to read and knit is probably why I pick simple knits.  But I also like the rhythm of knitting.  This in itself is important to me.  My latest read is The Beauty in Breaking by a black woman ER Doctor named Michele Harper.  Actually she is the head doctor and sounds like a very smart one.  Her perspectives I think are life altering.  She came from a well off family but with hidden abuse.  She just went through a divorce as the book starts and her perspective on rising above and forgiveness is valuable to tuck away in your heart.  I also think embracing a black woman's struggle and seeing what she sees can stretch us and educate us in positive ways.  This book I intended to read a little at a time because the material was so heavy but once started the book is hard to put down. 

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Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Boneyard Shawl


     I started my Boneyard Shawl with a lovely ball of yarn I discovered in stash.  I knew it was Malabrigo yarn, either worsted or DK but I couldn't remember what exactly it was, but it was so beautiful I had to cast on something.  After a continuous search through shawl patterns for something simple but different in Ravelry I found the Boneyard Shawl by Stephen West.  What first caught my eye was it's a balanced triangular shawl.  While I love doing asymmetrical shawl designs, I prefer to wear a balanced shawl on my shoulders.  Simple, easy to memorize, and rhythmic to knit, and fast-growing.

     My mystery yarn I finally figured out was Malabrigo Arroyo in Regatta Blue by looking up my purchases at Jimmy Beans.  Lately, I've been buying my Malabrigo locally in a shop reopened this summer under a new owner The Cashmere Goat; so I try to link my yarn with her to support our local yarn shop here in Camden, ME.  A lovely travel destination it would be for sure!  

     I'm really enjoying a Rom-Com I got through Book of the Month club "The Dating Plan".  The club seems to offer really smart and fun Rom-Coms and I'm going to be disappointed when this one is over.  It was released pre-publication and comes out mid-March.  In "The Dating Plan" Daisy Patel, a geeky young Indian woman agrees to a fake engagement with a former friend of her brother's who jilted her for the prom.  He is desperate to get married because his grandfather's will stipulates that to inherit his business he needs to be married.  Daisy needs to get her interfering large family who holds to traditional prearranged marriages from pressuring her with eligible suitors.  A fake engagement is made and one problem persists: they're falling in love with each other but with lots of comedy in between.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Hats off to Done Projects



    I've been trying to clear up my projects for some more important knits I want to focus on.  I'm pleased I finished two hats this week.  One really easy called The Perfect Hat.  It is.  A very simple Watch Cap with an optional lining of fleece.  I did this one up in a polyester wool blend in bulky called  Vintage Chunky by Berroco in pumpkin that matches the fingerless gloves I made for my daughter.  Being a teen I thought it was more durable and washable than plain wool and it's soft enough it doesn't need a lining.  I'd really like to do this up in a nice %100 wool and line it in the future.  The pattern is just right for pure wool.

      A note, I did loosely block it and I wish I didn't.  It was a perfect size and after blocking on a   smaller bowl than my daughter's head and then on an oatmeal box, with the hat band hanging loosely, it got looser and longer (gravity partially to blame).  Next time no blocking!  It's a frustration I find with wool, blocking for me stretches beyond what I want.  So I wet it again with a water filled spray bottle and have been drying it in front of the electric heater.  A mild blow of heat I'm hoping will restore it.

      My other hat was a Malabrigo splurge to celebrate the New Year's.  I wanted a fun, fast and easy pattern (but it doesn't look it).  I choose Aspenglow Hat and I did it up in a bulky Malabrigo Mecha in the lovely color of Candombe.  It went up fast and was compulsive knitting.  That's the knitting I wanted in my hands all the time.  Immediately I memorized the pattern; every other row knit then the other rows were a combination of slipped stitches purlwise and crossing your yarn in front and alternating with a knit stitch.  These rows alternated with starting with the slip or knit. It makes for a great pattern.  I did start the decreases an inch early than the pattern because I was playing yarn chicken, but I thought it long enough.


Original design

                                                                       © Lena Mathisson

   I'm really pleased my hat is done and thick and warm and soft.  The winters in Maine are cold (who could of guessed, right?) and when I can I like to walk up the hill when the sun is about to set, up two steep roads to the beginning of the trails for Mt. Battie (maybe I'll be able to do the mountain this summer). When I almost get to the top of the second step road I always turn around to see the horizon.  From one end of my vision to the other is the ocean.  Different blues of seas and sky with islands across the way.  The town looks like a basin that the water should just pour into.  The town of Camden is peaking out.  It always catches my breathe in awe.  And I'm always grateful we're here.

     I just started a Rom-Com I got through Book-of-the-Month club The Dating Plan.  These days Rom-Coms just feel right.  Something to spirit me away.  Only a few chapters in and I love the quirky main character, a geeky mathematic whiz who in the first chapter is at a Conferance and in a hallway is dealing with an aunt with a prospective suitor in tow coming towards her, and at the same time a former boyfriend and former boss (who had just finished a lip lock) trying to get her attention. She then bumps (literally) into another former boyfriend who didn't show up at the prom 10 years ago. To duck out of trouble the old boyfriend kisses her and she introduces him as her new fiancee.  The ploy works to get rid of everyone but obviously the fallout to this situation will be the plot.  The writing is funny and I'm entertained and intrigued and having fun.  Needed distraction after reading the news, which can be a bit overwhealming.

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Last week below the Camden Amphitheater on a cold, but beautiful walk with my daughter.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Camel Beauty Cowl

     To celebrate the New Year I bought Malabrigo yarn on New Year's Day.  A beautiful and soft worsted yarn in caramel and beige called Rios by Malabrigo in Camel.  I'm knitting it up in a very rhythmic and simple cowl called Beauty Cowl by Brome Fields.  

© Brome Fields

     Almost done, but I keep on wanting to finish the ball of yarn, I totally hate wasting it so I'm trying to knit to the end but it's getting long.  I figured it can't hurt and it'll probably make me warmer.  I do need to block it.  I knit tight and I should have checked gauge but of course, I was too impatient to cast on, so it's not as wide as it should be.  A wash and block should stretch it out a bit.  After I try it on, you never know if my mistake is actually a better fit.


     For a New Year read I've been reading a great fun new book "This Time New Year" by Sophie Cousens (A Book of the Month choice last year).  This is a real warm and lovely book.  I'm really enjoying it.  Most of the book is about two people born on the same day who keep on meeting by happenstance and usually sparring a bit. There's great banter but also a subtle dealing with class differences.  One wealthy, the other from a poorer working class, and yet both have issues to work through.  The author is British and I point that out because as I read this Rom-Com I sometimes am thrown by a word that is totally different in our Americanism, such as "Homely". In this book, a room was described positively as Homely.  I'm like what?  Well after looking it up I learned the Brits consider that a word for homey, while we Americans see it as ugly.  Very well done, I'll be disappointed to see it end. Goodreads Review 

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