My Adventures in Knitting, truly my Yarn-escape!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Wednesday's Yarns - A Christmas Gift

 Starry Sky yarn and Ripples of Peace Shawl 

     My oldest daughter gave me some beautiful yarn, a wonderful shimmery skein of Merino and Mohair yarn called "Starry Sky" in cobweb (a finer wt. than "lace").  She bought it at the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool festival.  She says in her note that it comes from and that "Hygge is the Danish word for cozy and they celebrate it on Christmas with candles and books!" (we're both avid readers and knitters).  This reminded me of a lovely quote about "hygge" on my computer from What if This is as Good as it Gets?   "Hygge has been on my mind a lot lately.  Kind of like healthy hibernating.  Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is a Danish word that is a feeling or mood that comes taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary, everyday moments more meaningful, beautiful or special."  So in the spirit of Hygge, I've been curled up with my new book (details below) and my new yarn.  And enjoying the simple pleasures of tea, a fire, reading, and knitting (or winding yarn).  It took a movie night (Christmas Night) and a whole day alternating reading, knitting and winding this yarn to get it into a ball.  It's cobweb and 1,000 yards long!    (More on Hygge - "The Year of Hygge, the Danish Obsession with Getting Cozy" New Yorker.)

     Finally, I found a simple pattern - "Schal für zwei" or "Scarf For Two"h  Most of the patterns for "Cobweb" were lace and I'm not ready for lacework and I know me, if frustrated it'll be put aside.  So I found a simple shawl; I can do all the stitches and, while not mindless knitting, it seems like it's close to it.  My daughter said she wanted to challenge me.  My daughter works with silk lace and creates 18th-Century Silk Knitted Pinballs on 0000 needles.  Her pinballs are popular with the other Colonial reenactors she works with.  So now she has me down to a size #2 needles!  But I don't expect this will be done until summer!

© Knittola
 © Knittola
© Knittola

     In between knitting and rolling up my yarn (and sips of tea and nibbling of dark chocolate covered marzipan, also a gift from my daughter) I started a new book from Nora Roberts called "Year One: Chronicles of the One" Book 1.

      One glance at the synopsis of the book and I knew this favorite author had switched up a new level and changed her genre.  I've just begun, but we're in the end of the world stuff, with a collapsing world, millions dying and magic somehow involved.  I was just simply intrigued.  So far, it's a page turner and my she does know how to write! (An interesting review which gives you a real historical background of the possibilities of a pandemic, but also is a bit tongue-in-cheek, you got to watch the video! - "The apocalypse, as imagined by Nora Roberts" Washington Post)

Come Join Us at Unraveled Wednesday

Friday, December 22, 2017

Welcome Blanket Done!

The Welcome Blanket

     I finally finished my Welcome Blanket last week and got it in the mail before the final deadline for distribution to an Immigrant.  Now I have more time to focus my Ripples of Peace Shawl (Project Peace 2017), knitting Boiled Wool Mittens for my son and making Christmas Cookies.

Jenny our newly adopted cat has been outside in the woods and above in an old shed. I'm slowly getting her inside.  So while my other cats got the heave-ho off the table, by the time Jenny came and curled up I didn't have the heart (the first time she curled up in the main area, usually she's penned up in my bedroom at nights).  She's just getting used to the inside.  Good because it's hitting low teens this week.

Happy Holidays 

and here's to a 

the New Year 

to up our Resistance efforts!!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Wednesday's Yarns- Tis The Season

     A quick post, an update, as I knit away on a gift (Boiled Fishermen's Mittens and more details on my project - Wednesday's Yarns and What's Up on Needles) and my Project Peace (details - Ripples of Peace Shawl and previous blog on it- Wednesday's Yarns - Entering Into the Quiet).

I'm off to shop with a toe-tapping teen who keeps on saying can we go yet? Are you done, Mom?  She just got her permit.  

     I'm reading the second book in a series by Denise Domning Awaken the Sleeping Heart (Children of Graistan Book 2).  The first book was great and I'm so far not disappointed by the second.  I like her writing, her characters, the plot and descriptions of scenes.  All in all great fun and romance in the Medieval era.

Come Join Us at Unraveled Wednesday

Happy Holidays!!!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Wednesday's Yarns: Quick Christmas Gifts and Traditional Cookies

     Today we're joining the blog Sprite Writes which is doing a Virtual Advent Tour 2017.  Every day this month Sprite hosts a different blog on Christmas Traditions.  Today Lovely Yarn Escapes is featuring quick knit Christmas gifts (many suitable for beginners) and some traditional family cookies (at the bottom).  I also enclose what I'm reading (sandwiched in-between) and I connect with "AsKatKnits" at Unraveled Wednesday.  What fun!

Quick Christmas Knits

     Do you still want to create that special gift for a special someone?  There's still time and creating something with your own hands says "I love you" in a more personal way.  Only you could of given that gift because you made it yourself.  I have a nice collection of fairly quick gifts that can be made for the holidays.  Mind you, I am a slow knitter and these projects if started this week would still be done before Christmas in my hands.


     For Christmas gifts last year I did The Big Hat. It goes up in 2 days or less and looks great in Lion's Wool-Ease Quick & Thick .  The pom-pom is lots of fun.  Not only a great beginner's project, but the pattern has a very good how-to video.  I would recommend ordering the needles from Amazon.  I found them hard to find -  #15 circular needles (16" length) and #15 double point needles (5 in a package).

Fingerless gloves

     A favorite designer I especially recommend for beginners and those still learning (I still consider myself in that category, forever learning) is TinCanKnits.  Their Support Page covers many techniques and they have a collection of patterns called The Simple Collection that are easy beginner patterns, but also lovely for anyone.  The patterns include tutorial how-tos.  One of these patterns for fingerless gloves is unique and makes a great gift - Maize.  Simple wool yarn like Patons found in your local craft stores (like Michaels and Joanns) works up really nice.

     This is a lovely cowl, the Meriboo Cabled Cowl and you could knit it with the cables if you're good at that, or knit it plain.  I did a plain version of stockinette with just a ribbing on each side and I really liked it.  It also went up quick and I just love a simple mindless knit for a movie at home.  My previous blog gives more details - Wednesday's Yarns - Cowl's Galore.

      I'm working on two pairs of Boiled Fisherman Mittens for Christmas.  I've never done boiled wool before, but I talked to a woman at a craft fair years ago about her boiled wool hats and she knit them big, then threw them in the dryer.  So that's what I'm planning.  This pattern is found in an old Yankee Magazine.  The pattern itself is based on one last pair of mittens this old lady made who had been making them for years for fishermen.  She passed and another woman studied this one pair and recreated the pattern.  An interesting article, which tells of how the fishermen of old shrunk their mittens.  One method was to throw them on the bottom of the boat and then stomp on them, then to put them on the boat's heater.  For my yarn, I'm using KnitPicks' Simply Wool Bulky yarn.  It has to be yarn that hasn't been processed to still have the natural oil in the wool.  KnitPicks has great prices and quick delivery.  The gloves (I'm hoping here) take a skein per mitten, two per pair.  But I'm not done, I'm basing this calculation based on others who have knit this pattern in Ravelry (Project Page).  (If you are a newbie be sure to join Ravelry for amazing access to an inexhaustible supply of patterns!).

     I just love this cowl - The Gathering.  It's created to recapture the feel of Outlander the Books and movie (my favorite book series of all - Outlander Series).  The cowl takes 2 skeins of Lion's Wool-Ease Quick & Thick and #50 knitting needles, you knit 2 strands of yarn at a time.  I made it several times and it took 2 days to make and it's lovely and warm.  Just a heads up, the color above is called "Barley" and while beautiful it has tiny strands of plastic fiber in the wool blend that itch for me.  Plenty of their other colors don't have this, just look closely if you also have sensitive skin.  Also, there are two techniques you might have to learn, the Provisional Cast On (using waste yarn) and Kitchener Stitch (for Garter Stitch), but by following these tutorials you should do fine.

     And if you're a fast knitter or you want to make something for yourself this is really easy to knit - Just Knit It.  You only need to know how to knit (Garter stitch) and to do kfb which is a knit in the front and back at the beginning of each row.  And bind off, of course (use a knitting needle one size up to keep it loose).  All of these you can find tutorials online.  I love this scarf in fingering sock yarn.  But a quick version is to do it up on #10 needles with DK or worsted.  I started this one on Lion's Heartland in Badlands.  This is my favorite scarf around my neck to keep a draft out. 

What Yarns (or Books) am I Enjoying?

     A great way to power through your knitting is to have a great audio.  I find knitting while I listen helps me to get a lot accomplished and I'm more focused on my task.  I joined Audible and it's a great deal.  Every month I pick an audio.  Last month's choice "The Templar Prophecy: John Hart" Book 1 by Mario Reading has proven to be exciting.  Starting in the Crusades, and flowing through the time of Hitler, and up to the present.  A mystery involving the spear of Christ. 

 "June 1190. A Knight Templar, Johannes von Hartelius, rescues the Holy Lance from the drowning body of Frederick Barbarossa during the Third Crusade. April 1945. A courier arrives at the Hitlerbunker with a parcel. The Führer calls for a vacuum canister to be brought, seals the documents he has received inside it, attaches the canister to a leather case containing the Holy Lance, and sends it away, guarded by a descendant of Johannes von Hartelius. Present Day: British photojournalist John Hart finds his father crucified, with the mark of a spear in his side. Shattered and bewildered, Hart learns for the very first time of his family's destiny—to be the Guardians of the Lance. As Hart begins to investigate, he discovers a German occult rightwing organization called the Brotherhood of the Lance. Hart infiltrates the organization to investigate his father's murder—but the secret of the Lance is more terrifying than he could ever have imagined." Goodreads - The Templar Prophecy.

      Another good listen that I'm just in the beginning, but so far it is so good, is Leonardo da Vinci Audiobook by Walter Isaacson (Author),‎ Alfred Molina (Narrator).  The premise of the author seems to be mainly two-fold; he writes about successful men and how their success was determined by how they straddled different disciplines and created from that place.  He writes about Leonardo da Vinci as the artist and a scientist and how this is entwined.  Also, he contends that even though Leonardo was a genius he also had his quirks that made him more of an ordinary human being and that we also can identify with him and perhaps also can achieve a measure of greatness learning from such men.  Maybe we won't create a Sistine Chapel or Mona Lisa, but the author contends we can be influenced by observing these Masters.  He explains that now he has studied Leonardo he observes the sheen on an object, how the color plays in shadow or how people's expressions play out at a table.  It's a wonderful book to listen to.  The Intro is read by the author and the rest read by Alfredo Molina with a wonderful European accent, rolling the Italian names with an Italian flourish.

                                                                                      Ripples of Peace Shawl (Project Peace 2017)

A Holiday Tradition

     My Mom made the most wonderful Christmas cookies every year when I grew up.  A combination of Sugar Cookies, Shortbread, Pfeffernusse Cookies, and Springerle.  The traditional Springerle is rolled out and molded by Springerle rolling pins.  Then they are aged for about a month so they soften inside.  To make a softer cookie (and also doesn't need to age) I'm making another version - SPRINGERLE SHORTBREAD.  To keep a more traditional flavor you can anise flavoring and anise seeds, or you can use vanilla and enjoy them plain.  To me the essence of Christmas is found in these rich plain cookies, then they are stored with the spicey Pfeffernusse Cookies.  

Pfeffernusse Cookies - All Butter Recipe

More on Project Peace 2017 check out my previous blog post - 

Wednesday's Yarns - Entering Into the Quiet - Project peace 2017.

Unraveled Wednesday

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!"