My Adventures in Knitting, truly my Yarn-escape!

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.

Come Join Us at Unraveled Wednesday

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 

Come Join Us at Unraveled Wednesday

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Emily's Mittens


     I'm finishing up projects and Christmas gifts this past week.  I got several gifts done and Emily's Mittens is a real success!  I knit this mitten first up in soft wool for myself to test different patterns and sizes.  Then Emily's Mittens was done in an extremely soft Alpaca yarn.  I think they're perfect.

     I used two different patterns to create Emily's Mittens.  The cuff starts with Waiting For Winter Bulky Mittens in M (27 sts) and I lengthened the cuff to 3 1/2" and then added 1 stitch (28 sts) and switched to Simple Chunky Mittens.

     The wonderful Baby Alpaca yarn is Herriot Great by Juniper Moon Farm.  I love this yarn and I'm finishing a sweater for myself from it and starting a Hoodie for my son (more on that later).  I'm learning about the fiber, it's hollow and warmer than wool.  But I'm learning it can stretch more and apparantly has less ability to keep shape as wool.  So far my projects seem alright but I'm going to measure my sweater when It's finished and after a few weeks see if it grows a lot in length and make adjustments on my son's hoodie.  But I'm pleased about what I've learned from using Alpaca and it still is the softest yarn I've ever used.

     I'm still reading and listening to the 4th book in the Outlander series "The Drums of Autumn".  Lately I've been getting the books with my Audible credit, buying the hardcover through Amazon second hand (a usually very cheap option) and I download the book so I can follow along if I can't figure a word out and also read in bed with the lights out for my husband.  I figure the books are very long (888 pgs) and will keep me happy for probably a month.  I'm exploring a few other books too and will talk about them later.


This painting traditionally hangs over the president in his office in The White House.

     On this day I listen to the House wrangle over Impeachment; a week after I listened in shock to the attack on The Capital.  I happened to turn on a live feed after 2 PM Jan 6th, 2021 after the first shots were fired.  In shock and feeling personally violated, that same sense when Colombine happened and 9/11.  I'm still feeling a sense of shock.  I've spent my life studying history and somehow the buildings and the effort that goes on in there does seems sacred to me.  I believe they try to do their best.  Now they deliberate and we hope, hope for the best.  A book I started listening to a few years ago and have promised myself to pick up again I'm starting again today on Audible - "The Soul of America: The Battle For Our Better Angels" .  It is not an easy read or listen in the sense that it is a lot of history to digest.  Jon Meacham is explaining how this country has gone through difficulties and very low points and we can get out of that place again.  He uses a lot of presidential quotes of what makes a president and what his qualities should be.  As I said I started this when it just came out in 2018 and I was very familiar with Meacham's argument using Lincoln's words about "Our Better Angels".  Then when Biden spoke the past year I was struck by his own use of the words and how it echoed the book; figured he had read it.  Well, it ends up Biden is friends with Meacham.  They have debated together and Biden has picked his brain of how a president should be.  Meacham was asked at the Democratic Convention to define what "our Better Angels" meant and I've heard he helps in writing Biden's speeches.  What I find interesting about Meacham is that before this he has tried to not be partisan.  He is Bush Sr.'s biographer and spoke at his memorial; he also has a new book out on John Lewis.  Reading this book I am hoping to awaken a positive hope in me for our country.  I believe we are better than this and hope that in the days to come we will come out of this new darkness into a hopeful and purposeful light.

Stay Warm,

 Stay Healthy,


Stay Hopeful

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

The Aspenglow Hat for the New Year


     Our local yarn store The Cashmere Goat was open on New Year's Day.  It's down by the wharf on a beautiful street in Camden.  I haven't explored the length of the street and I don't even know what the rest of that side of town looks like yet.  Covid makes exploring not so fun.  But I've visited the yarn shop since it reopened under a new owner since the summer.  Having such lovely yarn just literally down the road is a treat.  Especially one well-stocked with Malabrigo yarn!  I could stare at it forever.  So of course if I'm just buying something as an excuse to visit and to celebrate the New Year it has to be Malabrigo. 

    Before I left home I had a new pattern downloaded Aspenglow Hat and a general idea of what I needed.  Of course, when I hit the yarn shop I am always overwhelmed with the choices and it took some help from the friendly owner to get what I came for.  I'm literally like a deer in headlights in that shop.  Most of my life I have shopped at Walmart or Joanns and Michaels over the years.  More recently KnitPicks made yarn affordable.  Buying expensive yarn (for me with 3 kids and husband) wasn't an option.  I always weighed things opposed to buying a gallon of milk.  The milk won out.  Later, as the kids have grown and left I realized one skein of sock yarn from Malabrigo could last me a month of joy creating a shawl.  Surely that's cheaper than going to the movies.  But times change and I can afford the luxury of buying good yarn now.  Especially if you're spending so much time on a project, it does seem worth it.  But I never will lose my appreciation for being able to stand in a yarn shop and make a choice.  That's why I stare.  Always like a kid in Candyland.

     Finally with Malabrigo Mecha in the color Candombe in hand I rush home and cast on.  I'm actually juggling several late Christmas gifts finishing up, a sweater for me and one Hoodie for my son, but this won out.  With visions of a warmer head, the hat has been finding it's way into my hands.  I'm so pleased with the results.  The colors in the yarn really are shown off in this pattern and the pattern so easy!  A simple alternating rows of knit and a slip-a-stitch purlwise, then a knit row.  You can get a rhythm to it and it grows fast.  Note I did cast on with a Long-tail cast on feeling the German cast on beyond my patience at the time, but it seems fine to me and plenty stretchy.  When done I hope to top it with a pom pom made of the rest of the yarn.

     Lately, I've been finishing the last books in the "Outlander" series.  My absolute favorite books.  I started reading them way back when the books came out.  Well, when the 8th book came out 4 years ago I made a promise to myself I wouldn't read it till I had gone over the whole series again.  I got the Audible "Outlander" and listened to that as I knitted one summer month years ago, but besides starting the second book I didn't keep on reading.  Then the TV show came out and over the years my husband and I watched that.  I started reading and listening to the 6th book - "An Echo in The Bone" because the show takes you up to the end of book 5 and the next book starts after the drowning of a pirate, and he is bobbing in the water.  Have I mentioned this is a very unusual series blending time travel, romance, adventure, history, and great characters?  I think reading the books really highlights the details Diana Gabaldon uses to write.  So I finished the 6th, 7th and now 8th book "Written In My Own Heart's Blood" and not wanting to leave her books I downloaded the 4th book "The Drums of Autumn" and maybe by the time I get through that and the 5th book: "The Fiery Cross" I might circle back to the original "Outlander" book.  Word through posts on FB and Diana Gabaldon's website is she has finished writing the 9th book (there are 10 books planned) and now the editing process will begin (which can take a long time, outlined on her site).  But there are sneak peeks of her new book "Go Tell the Bees that I Am Gone" at her website.

     Yesterday I also stacked up 5 books to go through and decide on which one to read.  I belong to The Book of The Month club and have a well-stocked bookshelf of new books (years ago I decided I wanted a bookshelf with books to read, not just books that have been read).  I love BOTM books because they usually stretch me to read really good literature, but often out of a genre I would think to choose.  I picked up the book "The Beauty in Breaking" by Michele Harper, a memoir and I haven't put it down yet.  It's a tough one but I think very appropriate for this year.  It is her experiences in her life and as a head ER doctor.  It seems a good read for a year of deep tragedy for many to read of beauty found in difficulties.  It is also a book of overcoming coming out of an abusive childhood; a divorce and being a black female doctor.  This one is going to be good.  The writing already has me.

Here's to your New Year


 hope you all stay

 happy and safe!