My Adventures in Knitting, truly my Yarn-escape!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Wednesday's Yarns - A Green Fisherman's Scarf and "One Day in December"

© Purl Soho Seafaring Scarf

     One cold day walking with my husband I remarked he ought to have a scarf.  Well, he has a really long one done by his oldest daughter, but not that everyday scarf.  So scrounging around I found a beautiful green of Wool-Ease Thick & Quick Tweed called "Kale".  With a quick Ravelry search of super bulky scarves I found the Seafaring Scarf which looks huge and long but what interested me was its thick stitch which is called a Fisherman's rib.  It's simple and involves knitting into the below stitch and purls.  I'm knitting it on size #15 needles.  The end result is a three-dimensional scarf, almost an inch deep!  I cut down the cast on stitches to 21 at first, then ripped out.  Then 19 stitches, still too thick for a men's scarf, I thought and I've settled for 15 cast on stitches.  I'm imagining a more narrow scarf that's not as long as the original.  I'm super happy with the ease of knitting and the squishy feel of the scarf.  I think it'll be super! (My project Ravelry page with details - Fisherman's Scarf). (Also I found a Cable cast on was a looser cast on opposed to Long-tail).

     I started "One Day In December" on December 21st, the exact day the book starts on.  It's a charming read and quirky verbally at times because it's British.  On that day Laurie on her way home in a crowded bus sees waiting outside at a bus stop a guy, THE guy, who looks up and meets eyes with her and instantly she's in love.  A moment passes and the bus goes on and then she hunts for him for a year and then finds him, but...  I don't want to give away anything. It's a lovely read.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Wednesday's Yarns - Presents For Maine

     Just down to the wire.  The presents for my son in Maine and his girlfriend are just done.  The thumb on his New England Boiled Mittens finished this morning.  I ship them to him and he shrinks them down to size.  Last year's adventures in shrinking his boiled mitts - Wednesday's Yarns - Boiled Fisherman's Mittens.  I made my mittens from KnitPicks Simply Wool Bulky on #8 needles.

      I finished the hat for my son's girlfriend and washed it in Woolite and soaked it for a bit in an organic hair conditioner.  Both to soften it.  It's drying on an oatmeal box with a bowl on top.  This Sockhead was made from Patons Croy Sock yarn in Celestial.  I'm getting so fond of this hat, the Sockhead Slouch Hat, that I'm tempted to keep one on the needles at all time.  I can grab this one and I can knit it without looking and just read.  Often I'd knit something for a while that needed my attention, then I'd put it down and grab this hat, so I can read.  I do have leftover Hawthorne yarn in a speckled orange on white that I'll be starting one for my youngest daughter next.

     I'm always scouting for a free book to enjoy.  Through The Fussy Librarian, I found this Romantic Suspense "Bluegrass Undercover: Bluegrass Brothers".  It's about a DEA undercover agent trying to discover where the new steroid-like drug is coming from to stop young athletes from dying.  She poses as a guidance counselor and with the new football coach they try to stop the flow of the drug while not getting killed.  It's been a fun exciting read so far.

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Have a Merry Holiday

 from our household to yours!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Wednesday's Yarns- Boiled Wool Mitts

Christmas Gift alert!  Don't proceed if family!

     I've got one week to create an oversized wool mitten for my son, using this pattern from "New England Today"  New England Boiled Wool Mittens.  This was last year's Christmas gift and he liked it so much he asked for another pair, but with a few modifications.  I started them last year using KnitPicks Simply Wool Bulky and then they ran out of his color.  Left with a part of a mitt done, I ordered more yarn this year and finished the one mitt.  I just got the yarn, so I'm hoping to dash off the second mitt.  Here's my copy of the pattern in case the link doesn't work: Boiled Wool Fisherman's Mitten Pattern.

     Last year I knit the Boiled Wool Mittens exactly to pattern and sent them to my son.  He spent a lot of time experimenting on what was the best way to shrink them and his results are in last year's blog post - Wednesday's Yarns - Boiled Fisherman's Mittens.  (Hint they shrink best in the dryer!)


 How to best shrink these mittens - Boiled Fisherman's Mittens

     This year he wanted the cuffs longer, so they're 7" before shrinking.  And the glove overall tighter.  So I didn't do any increase after the cuff.  It's straight from cuff to mitt (which means you have to adjust the decrease rounds at the end, I skipped the first decrease and started after that).  Then when I did the thumb gusset I also did one less increase on it (so the thumb has 2 fewer stitches) and to even up the stitches on each needle I also knit two together.  We'll see how it works.  I'll update this later after he gets them and shrinks them.

This year's slimmer design:

Last year's Boiled Mitt (before shrinking)

     I got sucked again into the apocalyptic world with a freebie offer of  "Altered Genes: Genesis".  But I find it an intelligent read that describes a very plausible circumstance (but hopefully won't happen).  Through spycraft, the world is exposed to a virulent pandemic, a created germ with no cure.  Made to defy any antibiotic available.  The main characters are out to survive but also to find a cure and they have the means within their circle of survivors.  In creative ways, the author educates the reader on the scientific details of certain germs and what can happen and for a non-science geek, that's truly helpful.  I find the worldview of life after a devastating event also more hopeful.  While some people are violent, there are also others that are heroes like the Chinese spy and kind people who crop up constantly.  The characters are likable and it's a great read.  I finished the first book and I'm onto "Altered Genes: Revelations ".

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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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