My Adventures in Knitting, truly my Yarn-escape!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Reyna Shawl Grows and The Mystery Series Continues


     I'm hooked on my Reyna Shawl  finding it's what I want to knit on most of the day.  I disappear into it's rhythmic knit if I'm on my porch or curled in my favorite chair or keeping an elderly artist company in his studio.

     So far I've changed the counts of rows for garter sections and lace.  I have an 11 ridge garter section (22 rows) repeated and an ever-growing lace section.  The first was 3 holes (6 rows, two actually by mistake, I kept on going and they looked too good to rip out).  I then did 4 holes (8 rows), then 6 holes and 8 will be next.  This is instead of an 8 hole (16 rows) and 16 hole finish.  Less airy and more substance with the garter.  I'll then use up my larger Whales Road Malabrigo Mechita skein (420 yds) with garter at the end.

     Finishing up "Rule of Law: A Jade Harrington Novel" (Jade Harrington Series Book 2).  Good plot, seems a bit dragged out.  I'm still guessing on a bullying/murder case of high school students and cyber thefts of millions.  But I still love the FBI Agent Jade and the writing is interesting so I'll be into the third book soon (which came out a few weeks ago) - "The Divide: A Jade Harrington Novel" (The Jade Harrington Series Book 3)

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Reyna Shawl And New Mystery Series

     I'm working on my Reyna Shawl often, with its soft Malabrigo Mechita yarn in Whales Road.  For a single ply yarn, it is so far not pilling and that's appreciated.  I think Mechita is my favorite fingering yarn so far.

     Reyna is a shawl with a series of ever-growing lace panels within garter sections.  I found that I really liked one Reyna made with smaller lace sections; so I'm trying out fewer lace rows than the pattern.  The pattern has an ever increasing amount of lace rows, going from 2 rows, to 4, to 8 and then 16.  I accidentally did 3 rows of lace at first by mistake and it was too pretty to rip out; so the next I did the 4 rows and I'm thinking of doing 6 rows and then maybe 8 (or 8 and then 12, I haven't decided yet).  The garter rows became thicker kinda by accident.  I was watching an elderly local artist friend and having tea with him.  The moment was perfect and I was into my Garter stitches and there was no way I was diverting my attention to doing holes.  So I created an 11 ridge garter section (22 rows) instead of 8 ridges of garter in the pattern and I'm repeating that since I know I have more yarn than the pattern is called for and I know I'm doing smaller lace sections.  It looks good.

© Noora Laivola

 Reyna by pinkamingo (fewer lace rows)

     I finished Don't Speak: A Jade Harrington Novel (Jade Harrington Series Book 1) last night and I loved it!  It has a surprise ending to this serial killer mystery that will take you definitely by surprise!  I'm a bit upset at the outcome but you will see why.  The plot is four entwined storylines between the murderer, the FBI agent Jade Harrington who's after him, a woman candidate running for president and one of the top Conservative Radio hosts (who are being hunted down and killed).  Be prepared to be sucked in.

I started the next book in the series also last night - Rule of Law: A Jade Harrington Novel (Jade Harrington Series Book 2).  Be prepared both books to start out gruesome, but I found the first book didn't continue so much throughout the book.  It does get your attention.  This book is about bullies beating to death students and we know so far that Agent Jade has a childhood past of being bullied; this is why she studied to be a 4 degree Black Belt.  The newly elected president holds a secret that is revealed at the end of the first book.  This is a three part series and the final book came out two weeks ago.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Holding Hope Kerchief and A Political Murder Mystery

          After Charlottesville in 2017 Taylor Rutledge, a Ravelry member designed this simple kerchief with a mesh pattern called Holding Hope Kerchief.  I thought of this last week when I spied my little ball of leftover yarn of Hawthorne Fingering Multi Yarn in Arleta (I have a bigger ball of it tucked away).  I had kept thinking this color is for something special and never used it in any scrappy shawls I did before, saving it for something special.  Then I remembered this pattern and I cast on!  I have lots of peach and pink and mauve shirts for this summer (besides my standard blues) so I'm thinking this will be the perfect match.  I am considering making it a bit bigger.  I'm wondering can a bit larger kerchief be a tiny neck scarf?  So I'm working towards that and really enjoying the simple knit.  Aren't the colors just sumptuous?

This is a very special quote from Taylor Rutledge's pattern page:
"As I watched the news from Charlottesville, Virginia in August of 2017…like so many people I didn’t know what to do. But I did have to go to work at our local yarn store. I grabbed a mini skein I had from The Yarn at Home Mom in the vibrant color Glow. I started to knit…to mess around with what I could do with 87 yards. I thought about Heather Heyer and still wondered what I could do. I ended up with this simple kerchief, and I wore it to an anti-hate rally the next evening. I wrote down the pattern and decided one thing I can do is offer this pattern for my kerchief…a knitted prayer… to anyone who wants it. It’s free, but if you download this pattern, please consider donating some money to the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, Black Lives Matter, or similar organizations. Knit one for yourself. Knit one for your favorite activist to say thank you for their hard work. Knit one for a strong young woman you know who stands by her convictions the way Heather Heyer did. Share your knitting. Talk to your community. Keep holding hope."

     Reading a freebie on Kindle that's really good - "Don't Speak: A Jade Harrington Novel" (Jade Harrington Series Book 1); the first in a three part series where the last book was just published last week (series - "Jade Harrington Series" (3 book series).  A mix of a mystery murder story and a story of a Liberal candidate for the presidency and a Conservative president and the inside politics played behind the scenes and the FBI efforts to apprehend a serial killer of Ultra Conservative radio personalities.  I found it interesting that the quote at the beginning of the book says: "If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all." (Noam Chomsky).   really interesting and suspenseful read; an interesting mix of contemporary politics mixed with a fictional FBI protagonist hunting a mysterious murderer.  I am so looking forward to reading all the books and surprisingly it's not an overdose of politics because some of the issues chosen are more obscure and some remedies definitely I haven't heard of.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Washcloths and Did the Loyalists Almost Kill Washington?

     This week I saw a beautiful new cotton yarn at KnitPicks - CotLin Reflections, and I do hope to get it, but I knew I had some cotton yarn from Walmart in our storage unit.  After cleaning out loads of clothes for our ARC (like Goodwill) I found the yarn, so I've doubly cleaned up!  I'm hoping to make washcloths and dishcloths for a gift when I visit my family's vacation place in the Adirondack Mountains this summer.  I thought it a useful and thoughtful gift.  I also now have a request for washcloths for Asylum Seekers at the border, see below for details.

     I'm using the FREE pattern from KnitPicks to do my washcloth -  Kyna's Washcloth.  This pattern calls for their yarn and smaller needles and doubling the yarn.  Instead, I'm using Peaches & Creme yarn (found in Walmart and many Craft Stores), single strand because it's worsted and # 7 needles (in circular needles because I find them comfortable).

"Resistance Knitters" at Ravelry - We have contact to Asylum Seekers at the border through Sueños Sin Fronteras (a group that provides relief from medical to practical to the asylum seekers) and they need washcloths. The women describe a need to have them to wash little hands and faces. Can you help? 
Request from founder and head of Suenos Sin Fronteras -

" I have another request for those that might be interested in still assisting in our efforts. We are currently assisting families at our evening/overnight shelter here in San Antonio. Many of the families, especially the women, have been asking for washcloths. They use these washcloths to bathe, clean their baby, etc. If anyone in this group feels called to make a few washcloths, we would greatly appreciate it"

Please, PM Dee at Willietattoos for the address. We have direct access to the head of the organization who will transport goods to the border personally. Thanks!

     I'm still reading "The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington" by Brad Meltzer.  It's a good book to take in chapters; I almost think it's been written for that.  It's kind of light and repeats itself a bit, definitely not a heavy scholarly work, but it feels like he's done his research and his intended audience is your average Joe/Jill curious about this tale of how Washington almost was killed on the eve of his first major battle.  I'm right at the capturing of those involved (gasp some very close to him) and the unveiling of what seems to be the plot foiled.  You have to remember Meltzer describes this as a little know conspiracy.  It's vaguely mentioned in history books and Meltzer pieced together different sources to make an educated guess.  For instance (spoiler here) Washington's head maid was involved.  The woman who coordinated his whole staff at his home he seized to sleep in.  Because it was (probably) an embarrassment to Washington she just is suddenly gone when revelations from spies come out.  Only a note from Washington asking a friend for a lead for another head housekeeper because he is desperate for a new woman to keep his household staff organized and a notation in the accounting books are left to connect the dots.  But Meltzer uncovers an article in a Philadelphia paper that talks of the plot mentioning some facts that we know in hindsight are accurate.  One quote says that Washington's housekeeper is whispered to be involved.  Later rumors say she was on a ship for England, but otherwise, no one really knows if she was involved or what happened to her.  Don't you love little tidbits like this in history?  I do.  This book is filled with them.

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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Reyna, Malabrigo and "The First Conspiracy"


     Two summers ago I bought myself for my birthday some gorgeous Malabrigo Mecheta yarn in Whales Road and Caribeno.  Thinking I'd do a Line Break shawl out of the Whales Road it sat unused (one day I'll get that done in I'm envisioning a purple Malabrigo).  In an effort to use up some of my stuff and finish projects I unearthed one of the skeins and started a Reyna.  The second skein I can save in case I want my Reyna larger or for a surprise project someday, or maybe pair it with another color for a two-toned shawl.

      Mecheta is one of my favorite of the Malabrigos.  But I have found a single strand of it can fuzz up a bit when repeatedly ripped out.  So that was my frustration at starting my Reyna Monday.  For some reason, I just couldn't get the beginning just right and I restarted so many times I lost count.  I had already used the beginning strand to knit up a square in garter with #4 (size recommend), then #5 and #6 in the same tiny swatch.  For the swatch, I found #5 the best, looser, but not lacy (makes sense since Mecheta is a little thicker than sock yarn).  So this little yarn at the beginning was overused by the time I kept on ripping out.  I did cut a bit off and finally got a good start. (Please note I did rip out this too finding it still too tight, eventually reknitting the start with #6 needles and I like the more loose knit more).

Designer's pics 
 photos by © Noora Laivola

     Reyna should be a delightfully light summer shawl and I wish I could capture the Whales Road color, it's amazingly gorgeous, but my tablet's camera has a blue filter.  Check out Whales Road here in Malabrigo at Jimmy Beans to truly see the colors - Malabrigo Mechita Yarn Whales Road.


      I'm still reading "The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington".  It's a great read, exciting with several entwined threads of narrative from Washington trying to uncover plots against the Colonial Army, to the former British New York Governor plotting in a ship in the Long Island Sound, to local thieves trying to counterfeit colonial money.  I interspersed reading it with some Audibles I have on the American Revolution.  My favorite is actually a huge 704-page tome on the battles in the war - "Almost A Miracle: The American Victory in the War of Independence".  I got the book, but I'm mostly listening to it.  It's actually very well written and the audio is done superbly by someone who keeps the excitement going. With listening to two other accounts (one more on social aspects, the other on Benedict Arnold) I've gotten up to 1778 - 1779.  It's slow going doing several books at once but I feel I'm getting a better grasp of it.  A new book is coming out mid-month and it sounds so good -"The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777" (The Revolution Trilogy Book 1), but I wonder can I go over it again, and be really interested?  Hum, tempted.

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