Knits & Purls

No Regrets

I said I wasn't going to, but I did.

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Last Friday afternoon, I drove over to check out the Michigan Fiber Festival.

My strategy lately . . .  is to go on Friday afternoon.  The vendors are set up and ready, but the Fiber Festival isn't officially open.  (The workshops and competitive events are going on, though.)  It's perfect for me . . . no crowds, first pick of the yarn, nice time to chat with unhurried vendors, parking is a breeze, and you don't have to pay the entrance fee.  (The downside?  I miss the excitement of being with so many other knitters.  Plus ... the animals are just coming in and getting settled, so seeing them is not an option.)

I haven't been terribly inspired about my knitting lately, so I almost didn't go.  And god knows I don't need any yarn. . . 

But.

I bought yarn.  

I found some really lovely yarn that I am inspired to knit with.  So Win-Win!  (Just need to finish that beaded shawl for Erin first.)  

What I like best about going to the Fiber Festival is finding yarn-dyers and spinners that I'd never hear about otherwise.  This year, I found a spinner/dyer from Cincinnati who works with very unconventional fiber bases and creates absolutely beautiful color combinations.  (I nearly had a serious "falling down" in that booth.  I wanted every skein I touched -- and that doesn't happen much to me anymore.)  And another from Ohio that puts interesting and unexpected "bits" in her yarn (also some very unexpected color combinations).  I found a small Traverse City (Michigan) company that locally-sources every aspect of their yarn production:  local alpaca and sheep, local dyes, local everything.  Their colors are to die for -- and all inspired by Northern Michigan landmarks and Traverse City hot spots.  (Bought some of that, too.)  (I love their "farm-to-needles" approach.)

No pictures.  Sorry.  You'll just have to wait until I knit with it.

And knit with it I will!

I wasn't planning to go to the Fiber Festival this year . . . but I'm awfully glad I did.

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In eclipse news . . . we're busy putting together our old-school viewing boxes this morning.  And my dad scored a pair of official eclipse glasses.  Sadly, we probably won't be using any of our devices.  We're expecting heavy cloud-cover here . . . just around eclipse time.  Oh, well.  We can watch it live on the Internet here at the NASA live-coverage site.


No Time for Unraveling

My knitting has been very slow this summer.  A row here; a row there.  Some days, not even a stitch.

I finally finished this earlier this week . . . 

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That's Kirsten Kapur's Mystery Shawl 2017 -- in all its unblocked glory.  (I don't have a good place to block up north, and the well water is just kind of . . . well, smelly.  I will block when I get home.)  

And now, I'm working on this blob of lace weight . . .

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Because, really.  With less than 3 weeks until a wedding, shouldn't every mother-of-the-bride be working on a lace shawl with beads for her daughter?  (Like the title says, no time for unraveling.)

(If you hear maniacal laughter in the background, just smile and look away.)

Reading continues apace.  I may get a Bingo coverall after all, but it's hard to tell at this point.  Right now, I'm slogging through John Irving's Last Night in Twisted River (we'll just say . . . this one is NOT A Prayer for Owen Meany* - although it's every bit as long -  and leave it at that).  I've also just started Beartown (Fredrik Backman) -- which is, so far, everything you've already heard it is.  (Watch for a Bingo update post tomorrow for a more detailed look at my recent reading.)

How about you?  What are you knitting and reading today?

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Today's post is part of Kat's Unravled Wednesdays.  See what everyone else has to say here.

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* One of my top-5 favorite books Of All Time.


You Really Know How to Dance

(Set the tone . . . click here for today's soundtrack.)

Hey!  Uh huh huh!
Hey!  Uh huh huh!

What I like about you, you hold me tight. . .

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Tell me I'm the only one, wanna come over tonight
YEAH

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Keep whispering in my ear,
Tell me all the things that I wanna hear, cuz that's true
It's what I like about you!

So.  Yeah.  I finished something -- and I really liked knitting it.  It was the perfect mix for me . . . great design, fun yarn, stripes, and an oh-so-easy rhythmic pattern.

That's what I like about you!

(Ravelry details here.)


Unraveled . . . Tales of Stitching and Reading

These days, most of my "creative time" is spent out in the garden (and my fingernails really show it . . .), but I still try to find time to stitch every day.

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No unraveling this week.  (At least, not of the knitting or stitching variety.  In the garden, though?  I have a MAJOR unraveling going on, but I'll save that for another blog post.)  

The Colorwash Scarf continues to be a joy to knit, and it's growing quickly.  I'm hoping to be finished before Kirsten Kapur releases the first clue (June 15) for this year's Through the Loops Mystery Shawl -- but I'll have to knit quickly.  Because . . . 

See that sort of mustard-y green pile of fabric underneath?  Well.  That's my basic Alabama Chanin Factory Dress . . . and it's hogging most of my stitching time these days.

As for reading, in the ears I've got David Sedaris' newest book, Theft by Finding (audiobook-read-by-the-author, if you're following along with Summer Book Bingo).  In print, I'm reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (biography).  Earlier this week I finished The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane (borrowed).  

How about YOU?  What are you reading and unraveling this week?

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Today's post is part of Kat's Unraveled group.  Click here to see more posts about stitching and reading.
 

 


Love Don't Come Easy

Here's a little soundtrack for today's post.

You can't hurry love;
No you just have to wait.

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You've got to trust it, give it time;
No matter how long it takes.

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Love don't come easy;
it's a game of give and take!

So, yeah.  Sometimes projects drag on for months . . . maybe even for a whole year.  It sure feels good when you finish them, though.  

You just can't hurry love!

(Ravelry details here.)

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Today's post is part of Kat's Unraveled group. Click here to see what everyone else is knitting and reading!


Unraveling . . .

Here's what I started knitting yesterday . . . 

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It's Kirsten Kapur's Colorwash Scarf from Wild Yarns, the Mason-Dixon Knitting Field Guide No. 3.  I've been planning this knit for weeks -- but wanted to finish a few other things before casting on.  I had planned to only knit with the "wild" yarn" (some lovely stuff I picked up at Rhinebeck a couple of years ago), but after I saw Vicki's finished Colorwash Scarf, I decided to throw in a contrast color.

(And hoo boy . . . so glad I did!  Because for the first several rows, I kept forgetting to pass the slipped stitch over.  If I'd been using just the one color, I would have had to unravel constantly.  With two colors, well . . . there is immediate accountability.)  (And I only had to unravel twice.)  (Full disclosure.)

Anyway.  This design hits all my knitting-buttons:  rhythmic pattern, fun color changes, and stripes.  Those three features can keep my interest for hours at a time!

As for reading . . . right now I've got The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O'Neill, borrowed through Overdrive, on my iPad.  (This title was on the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction long list this year.)  I've only just read the first 75 pages, so I'm guessing this will be my first Bingo square (although I haven't quite figured out which one yet. . . ).

Speaking of bingo, don't forget that Summer Book Bingo begins this Saturday, May 27.  Check out the sidebar on Mary's blog to learn more.  Grab your card and read along!

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I'm joining along with Kat's Unraveled group today.  See what everyone else is . . . unraveling . . . here.


A Knitting Story for Mother's Day

My mom was a knitter.

But she was a rather reluctant and not-very-confident knitter.  Mostly because she was afraid of making mistakes and wasn't sure how to fix them -- and she had no one around to show her how.

Still, she persisted.  She knit my sister and I little red cardigans when we were little girls.  (I still have mine; cables down the front.)  She also knit us little hats that tied under our chins.  And she was the Queen of the Ripple Afghan.

And . . . she taught me to knit.

As I became a better knitter - and especially as I became adept at fixing knitting goofs - my mom got a little braver with her needles.  She mastered socks and mittens, all the while keeping us supplied with a never-ending stock of dish cloths.

But what she really wanted to knit?  Baby afghans!

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About ten years ago - back when my kids were still in high school - my mom decided to knit baby afghans for her future great grandchildren.  

She wanted to be ready, you see.  She had three grandchildren - and she wanted to be able to give each of them a handknit baby afghan whenever - and if ever - they had a child of their own.

First, she knit the yellow blanket.  For her oldest granddaughter -- my sister's daughter.

Then, she knit the variegated blanket.  For Erin.

And, finally, she knit the little aqua blanket.  For Brian.

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Then, she packed them away.  She just wanted to be ready for . . . whenever the time came.

Now, I have my mom's afghans.  Packed away safely and ready to distribute . . . when (and if ever) the time comes.

It's really comforting for me to know . . . that even though my mom will never be able to hold those future great grandchildren in her arms, those future great grandchildren will still be wrapped in her love.

(The power of knitting.)

(The power of Moms.)

Happy Mother's Day!


Hibernation is Over

Last October, I wrote about a languishing spring sweater I was putting into hibernation for the winter . . .

Well.  

It's time to get that clump of black yarn out and knit some sleeves!

I ran into a couple of major snags right out of the gate, though. 

  1. Where put sweater?
  2. Where put yarn?

Let's just say . . . nowhere obvious.  And apparently not together.  

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Eventually they turned up.  I stumbled onto the sweater last week, tucked away in a drawer filled with summer t-shirts.  The yarn?  It proved more elusive, but I finally found it -- squished in a basket of random leftovers.  

So.  Now . . . I'm back in business.  Sleeves on the needles and ribbing commenced.  This sweater is officially out of hibernation!

As for what I'm reading . . . it's The View from Castle Rock by Alice Munro.  

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I'm joining Kat and friends for Unraveled.  Click to see what everyone else is making and reading this week.

 


Around and Around

(To set the tone, click here for my project soundtrack.)

I've got a song
I ain't got no melody

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Last month, I decided to jumpstart my knitting (which had sort of . . . faded . . . of late) by adding some fresh tricks to my repertoire.  I joined A Year of Techniques (because there's always something new to learn) and decided to bring some (ahem. . . ) balance to my knitting.

While I don't plan to try each new technique on a monthly basis (my life is just too full for that - and I don't need any pressure to keep up), I do think I'll really enjoy learning some new tricks.

I've got a dance
I ain't got no steps, no

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I really enjoyed learning the helical stripes technique.  Simple.  Fun.  And it made so much sense once I got going that I can't believe I never figured it out for myself.  (But I didn't.)

My mitts are very "fraternal," although I did force things a bit to get the cuffs to be all in "dark" shades.

Will it go round in circles
Will it fly high like a bird up in the sky

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I was happy to switch out these mitts for my garden gloves yesterday, and pack them away for another season.  

(Ravely details here.)

 

 


Sign of the Times

I have to admit . . . when I first saw the Pussyhat pattern I thought . . . No.Way.  

But it didn't take long for me to, well . . . see the charm!  I jumped right on the Pussyhat bandwagon and churched out 6 hats in a little over a week before the Women's March on January 21.

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I love that KNITTERS have created this incredible symbol of feminism, freedom, and resistance.  I get goosebumps whenever I see the ever-farther-reaching impact of the Pussyhat Project.  

I gasped out loud last week when I heard about Missoni using Pussyhats (and super awesome Pussyhats, at that!) on their runway models at their Milan Fashion Week show.  (They also provided Pussyhats for all in attendance at the show to wear.)

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A knitter on Ravelry has already duplicated the cool Missoni hats (pattern here), so now you can make your own version of the Catwalk Pussyhat.

I mean, really.  How cool is that?