My Adventures in Knitting, truly my Yarn-escape!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Yarns: Finishing and Starting

      I'm finishing my Beach Hair Don't Care hairband.  I finished the lace and only have the other hair tie to do (in I-cord which is so fun!).  A great lace knit that I'm sending off to my daughter who will more likely use it with her really long hair. Previous blog post - Yarns: Beach Hairband KAL.

     And I just got my Malabrigo Mechita Yarn - Cielo y Tierra, a fall looking color combo that I've been eyeing since last year.  Now I'm making myself finish some things before I start anything.  This pattern caught my eye and I love the designer's shawls, especially her one-skein wonders - Citadel by Janina Kallio.  I've done one of her shawls before, also in Malabrigo Mechita - Yarns -The Ardent Shawl Finished!

      Yesterday I cast on fingerless mitts onto double pointed needles when it got really cold.  I'm using one skein of Capretta yarn from KnitPicks in worsted in a nutty brown color with a touch of cashmere.  I had set aside this fingerless glove pattern last year and it takes just the 130 yds.  Free pattern - Cestari Fingerless Mittens.  I'm doing it up differently than the pattern.  It has you knit it flat and seam it together with a one-inch seam.  So I cut the number of cast on stitches to 33 and I'm knitting it in the round.  I have very small hands so I'm hoping it fits.


     And I'm reading "After You" by Jojo Moyes, the second book in a three book series.  I'm nearly finished with it.  I love it at times, and then I get bored at others (maybe because reading in the wrong order gave some things away?)  I read the third one first - "Still Me", not knowing it was a series, but I loved it so I read the first book "Me Before You".  That book's equally awesome, but for different reasons.  It's a real tearjerker dealing with a quadriplegic and his desire to commit suicide and yes, it is a romance and it's funny too.  All her books have great characters and stories of small English life.  Her middle book is good and I'm glad I read it because it fills in the blanks of the other books and ties them together but I don't find it as interesting as the other two.  But I am now a JoJo fan and  I went to my second-hand bookshop and got a few more to read.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Yarns: Pooling Plaid Protest Scarf and "Me Before You"

 (Please Note Pattern is found down below) 

     I started a Resistance group called "Resistance Knitters" last year.  A member came up with the idea of creating a scarf using ombre or pooling yarn from Red Heart as a resistance symbol.  One that would remind one of the Plaid Shirt Guy, a High School Senior who sat behind Trump during a rally last month and just had his natural reactions on his face to what Trump was saying.  He didn't realize till friends texted him halfway through that he was visually right over the president's shoulder and very visible.  Later he was escorted out.  To me the scarf can be an opportunity to talk up your views to someone noticing it, complimenting your scarf.  Be yourself, explain your views.  

     Talking up our political situation is good.  If you're Liberal and the other person is Conservative remember having an ability to cross over and talk to your political opposite is also very important!  We lack conversation in this country between the opposite parties.  Socially we aren't even supposed to talk politics.  So when are our differences hammered out?  We are like a big dysfunctional family.  A tip when talking to a Conservative (if you're a Liberal) remind them that we need moderate Republicans.  We need Republicans that can talk to Liberal Democrats and find solutions.  I truly believe this country needs a balance between the two sides.  That doesn't mean I agree with them, I just believe healthy debate and discussion is important to find good solutions.  This scarf perhaps is more of a reminder to the person wearing it to engage in positive conversation.  Remember to kindly bridge gaps between people you might not agree with.  But talk, its important.  Also reminding people to vote in the Mid-terms, especially young adults is very good.  For further reading on some upbeat viewpoints I'd recommend Van Jones book "Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came Apart, How We Come Together".

     This new yarn - Super Saving Pooling was primarily developed for crocheters.  Red Heart replied to my inquiry about knitting techniques and said they are in the process of developing knitting patterns.  So I was on my own.  I spent a weekend trying to do the crochet but I realized it just wasn't me (after a day of stress and cramped hands).  (If you are a crocheter here's the pattern and video on how to make a scarf that pools in crochet - Perfect Planned Pooling Scarf).  So after lots of rip outs and watching this video on pooling in knitting - Knit Argyle Color Pooling, I started again late at night and finally figured it out.  In the morning I ripped out one last time and created a bigger color jog and that was perfect!  The yarn can be bought at JoannMary Maxim or ordered from Red Heart.

Please note that this scarf is made with the color "Haute". Different colors in Red Hearts Pooling yarn might have a different number of colors in their sequence and have to be set up differently. I have hints below the pattern on how to do it.

 Here's my pattern -

On Ravelry - Pooling Plaid Scarf

Instructions on knitting scarf-

Please watch this video to help you - Knit Argyle Color Pooling.

I knit this up on #8 straight needles on  Red Hearts Pooling yarn in Haute, a predesigned yarn that creates an argyle pattern.

This pooling yarn color Haute has 6 repeats of color. To do the whole sequence in a row made it wider than I wanted it, so I halved it for a thin scarf. So each row is 3 colors and every other row the same color shows up. 

Casting on:

To work up a scarf you need to start out just right, then you're good to go. My cast on was a Continental Knit On (video -knit on cast). Now to do this you need to make a row of cast on out of the first whole color sequence (to save time you can start casting on about 1 1/2 colors in). For instance, I started with red in my sequence, to cast on I just started after red, and into the White (you can rip out the unused cast on stitches later). So cast on till you reach just before the first color repeats itself, red for me, but don't knit the red (or whatever your first color is in the sequence).

First Row:

 Now knit one row, k2, p2 till you use half your colors, three colors. At the end of the row, you want to pull off some stitches that you just did so you have an offset (your color shifts to one side). I pulled off 4 stitches (again you can pull out the unused cast on stitches later). So I have 32 stitches. Your tension might be different than mine and you might have a different count of stitches. You should be OK. Just remember an even number of stitches, divisible by 4 will begin and end with K2, P2, which I prefer. The whole process of the cast on is so you start at the beginning of a color sequence. The pulling off stitches is so you have a color shift.  

Remaining Rows - Just continuing to do K2, P2 and enjoy watching the argyle plaid unfold before your eyes!

Cast Off - Cast off when you reached your desired length. For a loose cast off use a size larger needle such as #9 or #10.

Optional Fringe - How To Add A Fringe

Watch this video first before you start and remember I halved the color sequence for a thinner scarf.  You might want a wide scarf and then cast on the entire sequence of color for a thick scarf, play with it. The video is a big help -  Knit Argyle Color Pooling.

Different Color-
If you use a different color combination than Haute in Super Saving Pooling yarn the yarn might have a different number of colors but this should help you figure out a scarf in any color combination.  Just do either a wide scarf with all the colors and use the technique described above for how to set up the cast on but use the entire first set of colors to make your cast on to give you room (also this video is helpful - Knit Argyle Color Pooling).  Or experiment with halving your colors like I did.

     After reading "Still Me" I had to start the series with "Me Before You".  I'm totally not disappointed!  I love Jojo Moyes writing style.  But from trying to describe the story to my husband, there's no way to do it without making it sound depressing.  But her writing style is funny, endearing and engaging.  It's also a tearful read.  Here's another blog's summary (longer, more detailed) - "Amy's Bookshelf".  Goodreads - "Me Before You".

      I finished "Me Before You" this morning.  Leaving the last chapter for my cup of tea.  Immediately I downloaded the next book.  I want to own the books but I was too impatient to wait till Friday when I can get to my second-hand bookshop.  The third book "Still Me" I got with my BOTM and I still want to buy the first two.  I just love owning books that I've really enjoyed, not to just revisit someday but also that feeling you get when you look at your bookcase and see your books, like old friends.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Yarns: Knitting This and That and "Still Me"

     For my knitting, I've got a few things going and I'd like to clear some of them out honestly by finishing them.  Just too much.  I get carried away with ideas of what I want to do and impetuously grab some yarn and start.  And yet part of the fun is that burst of inspiration that just propels me to start something new.  I also find I love to rotate and keep my interest up.  Or sometimes one knit is easier than another.  A plain stockinette in worsted calling to me to disappear into rugged wool (that's a Shrug I haven't featured yet).  Or the soft blue TGV shawl that is so comforting and a mindless knit.  But my hands are cramping a bit, especially when I work on my sock with tiny needles, a Christmas gift.  But I work a bit on it every day and it's slowly getting there.  My favorite is the TGV shawl I started.  Simple garter, of course.  I love it because it's so soft and I can read while I knit.  Pattern - TGV Shawl and project page with notes - TGV Shawl.

     My Beach Hair Don't Care hairband has really grown, but that's after repeated rip outs.  I finally saw someone on the Facebook group site Nomadic Knits Beach Hair Don't Care KAL do a "lifeline".  I never heard of that before, but now I've got one in to mark the start of a lace set.  I really haven't done lace before.  This is good practice and I love the hairband, but lace, I've discovered, is not my thing.  I'm so thankful the thing is narrow enough for me to try lace, but a huge project, I just can't imagine.  Project page with details - Beach Hairband.

     And the reading gets better and better.  The downside is finding another great read when I'm done.  I just finished "Still Me" by Jojo Mojos and I absolutely loved it.  Perfect. Perfect ending. Endearing, funny and inspirational at times (Goodreads synopsis and review).  I was unaware it was the third book of a series and I'll have to get into the previous ones.  But meanwhile searching my bookcases (and kindle) and I'm stumped where to go on to.  I have a Book of The Month selection due to arrive any second - "The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock" and I'm trying to wait for that since my previous books from them have been awesome (Book of the Month).

     In the meantime, I've been listening to one of my favorite books I read years ago on Audible - "Into The Wilderness" by Sara Donati.  It takes place in the 1790's in Upstate New York in a fictional town that would be in The Adirondack preserve if it existed.  A romance between a newly arrived English schoolmarm from the upper crust.  She is immediately drawn to a woodsman who grew up in the wilds, had previously married a Mohawk woman and lost her in childbirth. He raises their daughter, as he straddles the worlds of the whites and the American Indian.  Lovely book and the start of a generational series.

      And lastly, to keep me busy until my book arrives I started reading "Fear" by Bob Woodward, sure to be a great hit and wake-up call.  I can't wait for this new book "The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock", it sounds like a cross between fantasy and historical fiction and after reading just a bit of "Fear" I can tell I'm going to need some real lets-get-lost fiction to read in-between the stark reality found in "Fear".    

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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Yarns: A TGV Shawl and "Goodbye, Paris"



     My blocked Age of Brass and Steam Shawl.  Knit in Malabrigo Silky Merino in Teal Feather and it's lovely and soft.   

     I love knitting the TGV shawl.  I did one two years ago - Monday Moments.  


     It's a fast knit, especially the way I'm doing it, on worsted yarn and #8 needles.  I just was looking for a shawl pattern and came across the TGV shawl.  Immediately I was struck with just how much I loved doing it and how the ruffle on the edge is so pretty.  I could imagine it done in some soft worsted (my other one while lovely is scratchy).  So looking at my stash of yarn I found two skeins, a blue and teal of Preciosa Tonal Worsted Yarn.  I had bought these while it was on a discontinued sale (be warned this is a really great soft yarn, but only 3 colors remain, with a disclaimer that they are bringing it back in January in new colors).

"Jojo Goodbye, Paris, an utterly charming novel that proves that sometimes you have to break your heart to make it whole." Amazon

     Another winner from Book of the Month club that is awesome!  I've collected a few of them on my shelf for that day when you want to reach over and just have the "right" book.  "Goodbye, Paris" is such a sweet and touching novel.  Beautifully written about a woman who meets her lover in Paris for 8 years to suddenly be put in a situation where her lover's secrets are revealed.  Her devastation hits you.  She plays her cello to find her equilibrium.  But in her past, years ago she has had a traumatic situation happen in a music conservatory leaving her unable to play in public.  But she professionally builds instruments and has a music shop in a small English town.  Her recovery revolves around her creations, her music and an old man and teen who are her support group.  Simple beautiful.  Lovely end. 


     After a good book, where I've sunk into delectable words and wonderful characters I feel a little down and sometimes I have a hard time finding the right book to go on to.  And by now I've finished several remarkable books this summer: "The Summer Wives" by Beatriz Williams, 'The Great Alone" and "The Nightingale" both by Kristen Hannah, now "Goodbye, Paris" and before these "Wild" and "A Walk in The Woods".  I figured since my Book of the Month picks were proving good reads I'd grab another one from my shelf.  I just started "Still Me" and it's very promising.  I didn't realize it's part of a series till now, so I'll have to check those out too.  Good, great reads up ahead!

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 Jenny my rescue cat is helping me. Last year she was a woodscat living on Voles.