Do you hear that sound? What sound you ask? You don't here anything? That's right, it's quiet around here because my oldest son started Kindergarten today. That means more time for writing AND more time for knitting and I already have a mostly finished object to share: The Redfern Cardigan from Interweave Knits Fall 2014 issue. I say mostly finished because it still needs buttons. I will say that it's been the most satisfying knitting project I've ever done. I loved the yarn, the pattern was well written and easy to follow and not too boring to knit. The stitch pattern along the arms, shoulders, neck and pockets kept things interesting.
In these photos I'm still working on the pockets (and making massive mistakes on the first one that I had to rip out a few times, ugh).
I'll post pictures of myself actually wearing the cardigan once I get the buttons chosen and sewn on. I'm already thinking about what kind of sweater to knit next. Time to dive into the stash!
The knitting bug has returned and I am back on the sheep as it were. (as opposed to the horse you know). While a few weeks ago I was just knitting socks, the full knitting habit is back with my daily effort to finish the Red Fern Cardigan. In case you've forgotten and you'd be forgiven because I cast that thing on months ago, the Red Fern Cardigan is from the front page of the Fall 2014 Interweave Knits. I'm using my old stash of Godden Yarns Ellen, which is 60% wool and 50% cotton. Years after this yarn has been discontinued I'm still enamored of it. There is a supple softness to this yarn that I have never been able to find in another yarn in all these years of knitting.
I'm on the last bits of the cardigan. The body and sleeves are finished and now I'm on to the neck, followed by the button band and the pockets, which shouldn't take too long. This of course means that I'm already looking forward to my next knitting projects.
I went bumbling through my yarn stash this morning, looking for my ball winder and swift.
I found the swift and winder buried under some quilting fabric along with this skein of Kitchen Sink Dyeworks sock yarn (yet another discontinued yarn I loved, sigh). I also took the opportunity to dig through my knitting book stash. I'm doing something a little different this time around. I think I'm going to knit a more complicated sock. This goes completely against my entire philosophy of sock knitting, which is that sock knitting is the cigarette smoking of knitters. Socks allow you to pick up and knit a little bit whenever the mood strikes without having to think much about the knitting. I know knitting a regular, run-of-the-mill sock like I know how to write my name. I like to knit in the same way that some folks like to smoke cigarettes, in short little bursts while I'm doing something else, or whenever I'm needing a moment to think. The knitting creates the space to calm down and notice my surroundings and ponder. That's the whole reason I like knitting socks and now I'm throwing that whole philosophy out the window so that I can do something a little fancier. What am I thinking? I'm a little worried that I will drive myself crazy with these socks.
You may have noticed that I bought myself a new set of DPN's, they're Addi's. I came to an important conclusion after many years of knitting with bamboo dpn's that over the years have bent and warped with heavy use: I'm switching to metal sock needles. I love bamboo. It's my favorite kind of knitting needle, but I'm just sick of buying another set of bamboo needles every couple of years. Anything larger than a 3 is fine, but once you get smaller than that the needles just get bent up with regular use. It's just physics, so I think the time has come to accept that I need to move onto metal dpns.
There's another project I'm thinking of starting, but you're going to have to wait until next time for me to show it to you. Two words tho: Erika Knight.
For the first time in years our family took a vacation. Nothing fancy, just a trip to Dallas, TX to visit my grandma and for my kids to spend some quality time with their great grandma. I had a wonderful time, hanging out in the city I used to visit every summer, even if it was hotter than blazes.
It was two weeks with my husband and kids, connecting with my grandma and exploring just how awesome Dallas has become since I was a kid. I marvelled at the low housing prices. I could live in a nice neighborhood with good schools in a remodeled brick house with a pool. My favorite kind of houses too, contemporaries from the 1970's and 1980's. Drool drool drool.
We needed a change of scenary. For months I've been stuck on a feedback loop of anger, driving around our unaffordable neighborhoods. I should have taken a vacation months ago. It would have done a lot for my sanity.
For one there was visiting grandma, who is very healthy and active and able to enjoy watching my kids. We got to visit the Ft Worth Zoo, The Perot Museum and The Dallas Arboretum. All are excellent examples of new architecture and display design. I loved the interplay of environments with plants and brick. The exhibits were fun too. The boys enjoyed wandering around with their mom and dad. Oldest son loved the local splashgrounds while youngest son still preferred to stay dry and in the shade.
Vacation, yada yada yada... onto the knitting.
I finally had some time to finish a pair of socks. I had accidentally left the first finished one at home so I was only guessing whether the toe on the second one would match.
It's not perfect, but who cares? They'll keep my feet warm. :)
The sock was finished by the time our family headed off to Hot Springs, Arkansas. I know. Arkansas. People don't really think of it as a vacation destination, but I quite like it. Hot Springs was America's first resort town and it does have some excellent bath houses, which I got to enjoy. I had a bath, massage and facial at the Quapaw Baths, which I remember as a kid being closed, which I thought to be a real shame. So glad that somebody refurbished it. It's truly a gem. If you like reasonably priced spas, lakes and minerals. Hot Springs is for you. The Midwest Science Museum is worth the trip as well, one of the best places to teach kids about the physical sciences. You can go quartz mining and diamond mining 90 minutes away. The whole family enjoyed the trip. It as a fun place to take it easy and get away from our regularly scheduled lives.
I got so relaxed that I found the brainspace to get back into my big cardigan project, the Redfern Cardigan. I had left off on a second sleeve and it can take quite a bit of concentration to get back into a knitting project. You have to figure out where you left off in the pattern, how to do the stitches again, but I was able to do it, no problem and finally even memorzied the stitch pattern so I didn't have to keep looking back to the chart. Took long enough. Worth it though. I'm almost done with the second sleeve. Then it's onto weaving in ends, doing the neck, button bands and pockets.
I need a circle of crafty people around me to commiserate with at least once a week. They need not all be knitters.
I am sad that none of my local yarn shops have a knitting night that I want to attend. Most of them are 20+ minutes away and end up full by the time I get there. I wish there was one walking distance. I wish I had the patience to open my own yarn shop, but I have neither the funds nor the desire to work weekends. I wish that Purlescense or Nine Rubies was closer to me. Or Verb. But they're not.
I did just get the heads up that my local recrafting shop has a nice crafts night on Wednesdays. I might just have to go check that out.
I had the best craft night when I lived in Marin. I still miss it and the other knitters I met with on a weekly basis. It's pretty much the only part of my life that I miss from my first marriage. Well that and the connection to Australia and all the nice folks I met there. Sigh. Life happens. Shit happens. Blearg.
Maybe my old pal Warren still has a knitting group that meets in Marin on Saturdays. I might want to go check that out. Also I may want to go to Stitches and TNNA this year. Knit Luck might actually have a budget for that stuff next year!!!
Adding to my knitting group nostalgia is some unusual summer rains drifting through the bay area. It has me wishing it was already October and wondering if I should try to finish a cardigan by the end of summer... so you know... to look like a knitting magazine... in October. As hard as that is to do in California.
I still have the socks to keep me busy, but I might just bring that purple cardigan from months ago with me on my trip to Texas. I really want to have a massive finished object in the next month of two. You know because I have nothing better to do. (Not).
What are you wanted to knit right now? How's your knitting group?
Summer is treating me well. I'm focusing on the kids and doing the kinds of things that moms with older kids get to do, like taking the kids to swimming lessons. This means that I've got time to sit around and wait while the swimming lessons commence and like for most knitters that means that I've got time to knit. I've already finished a pair of socks this summer and I'm almost halfway done with another pair. I just have to finish the toe on this blue and white striped sock. It's a nice feeling of accomplishment that I enjoy so much that I can't manage to go more than a half hour after finishing a pair of socks before I start another one. I'm hoping to keep that going for the rest of the year.
Sock knitting helps me maintain a little bit of sanity. This fall is going to be a little crazy. I'm going to be bringing my sock knitting with me like a little security blanket whererever I go. For now it's summer and I'm determined to enjoy it as much as possible before the craziness begins.