Knits & Purls

The Burning Question


I'll admit it.


I jumped on the Carbeth bandwagon.

(But not without a lot of measuring, calculating, thinking, and swatching.) 

The burning question remains, though:  Can an almost-59-year-old woman (who does not own a charming, plaid kilt by the way) pull off wearing a cropped pullover???

(Tune in next week to find out.)  (Because this sweater really does fly off the needles.)

Unraveling on a Wednesday

No actual unraveling around here this week . . . just lots of nitty-picky, fiddly knitting that I can't blog about because Gift.  (Tune in next week, and I'll show you.)

I did finish something I CAN show you, though . . . 


It's a very heavy cowl (free pattern courtesy of Churchmouse Yarn & Teas).  At first, I thought it was maybe too heavy for me to wear, but I gave it a spin yesterday while running errands.  It was perfectly comfortable and kept me warm on a very cold, snowy day.  

(You can find all the details here - on my Ravely page.)

Now, I'm looking forward to knitting my way through the Olympics.  I joined . . . 

Team rules schmules

(Because who needs rules when it comes to knitting?)  

I think I'll knit a sleeve.

How about you?  Are you planning to knit through the Olympics?

Mining for a Heart of Gold

First, let's set the tone with some Neil Young.

Last August, I stopped in at the Michigan Fiber Festival.  Just to look around, y'know?  Not to buy anything.  (Because heaven knows I don't need any yarn.)  But I'm kind of a sucker for Briar Rose yarn.  (The colors!  The squish factor!  And it's made just up the highway!)  So there I was.

In the booth, I spied this great skein of kind of a harvest-y gold-y color yarn.  I really fell hard for it . . .  but there was only one skien.  Really not enough to do anything WITH.  So I dug around.  And the Briar Rose representative dug around with me.  But she wasn't very hopeful, because she mentioned they might not be using this particular base much anymore - and there probably wasn't more of that particular color.

We dug.

We nearly upended the entire booth.

You might say we were . . . mining for a heart of gold, even.

In the end, we found one!


Keep me searching for a heart of gold
You keep me searching and I'm growing old
Keep me searching for a heart of gold
I've been a miner for a heart of gold


You can find the details here on my Ravelry page.



Determined to Finish

In knitting news . . . 


we have progress!

I took this photo sometime last weekend to check the length of that sleeve.  Since then, I finished that sleeve, and I'm well on my way with the next.

I'm determined!  I'm going to finish soon.  (Mostly because every time I try this sweater on, I just want to keep wearing it.  Very comfortable.  I think I'm going to love it.) (But also because I'm ready to knit something else.)

As far as reading goes, I just finished two duds that I really can't recommend.  So I'll just leave it right there.  (If you want more details, you can check out my Goodreads reviews.)  I've just started reading Reservoir 13, which is much more promising from the start, although reviews are mixed . . . so we'll see.

How about you?  What are you knitting and/or reading this week?


Be sure to hop on over to Kat's to read other Unraveled Wednesday posts.

Knitting as Meditation

Lately, when I wake up, I grab a cup of coffee and I sit down with my knitting.


I don't check my email.

I don't look at the news.

I don't even refer to my plan for the day.

Or my to-do list.

I just sit and knit.

(I do feed the dogs first, though.  Because that's how we roll here.)


I find that knitting in the morning is a perfect way to center myself and prepare for the day ahead.

Except when I'm knitting a complicated pattern (lace or tricky cables, for example, or anything involving a lot of counting), I find knitting to be a form of meditation.  The stitches on the needle are much like . . . rosary beads or mala beads . . . one after the other after the other.  Matched with my breathing.  Letting my mind quiet.  Calling for a peaceful heart.

(With the added bonus of watching a sweater emerge right under my fingertips.)

I am participating in Project Peace again this year, although I've decided not to cast on for the actual project this time.  Instead, I'm continuing with my current sweater project.  I am following along with the daily peace prompts -- but knitting my own project instead.  Someday I may knit the actual pattern for this year's Project Peace (I did purchase it) -- but not right now.

What AM I knitting?


This sweater.  I'm much further along now than I was when I took this photo outside.  But it shows the actual color of my yarn - and the texture - much better.  Now that I've divided out the sleeves, the knitting is going much quicker.


Maybe I'll have a new sweater before spring . . . 

Whatever the timing, I'm enjoying my morning knitting-as-meditation!


See what other knitters are up to today over at Kat's!

Practicing Gratitude: Gifting with a Side of Poetry


It's that time of year when knitters (and makers) everywhere get really serious about creating handmade gifts for people they care about.  


(Yes.  That's a sock.  But don't get excited about it.  I finished it over a year ago, and haven't even cast on for its mate.  This post just needed a sock picture, so I dug it out of the drawer for just long enough to snap a photo.)  (It's back in the drawer now.)

I'm not knitting-for-Christmas this year, myself (although I do have one gift recipient who desperately needs a hat, so there is that), but I thought I would share this gratitude-related poem about receiving the gift of socks to inspire all of you gift-knitters and gift-makers out there.

Ode to My Socks
         by Pablo Neruda

Maru Mori brought me
a pair
of socks
which she knitted herself
with her sheepherder’s hands,
two socks as soft
as rabbits.
I slipped my feet
into them
as though into
with threads of
and goatskin.
Violent socks,
my feet were
two fish made
of wool,
two long sharks
sea-blue, shot
by one golden thread,
two immense blackbirds,
two cannons:
my feet
were honored
in this way
They were
so handsome
for the first time
my feet seemed to me
like two decrepit
firemen, firemen
of that woven
of those glowing

I resisted
the sharp temptation
to save them somewhere
as schoolboys
as learned men
sacred texts,
I resisted
the mad impulse
to put them
into a golden
and each day give them
and pieces of pink melon.
Like explorers
in the jungle who hand
over the very rare
green deer
to the spit
and eat it
with remorse,
I stretched out
my feet
and pulled on
the magnificent
and then my shoes.

The moral
of my ode is this:
beauty is twice
and what is good is doubly
when it is a matter of two socks
made of wool
in winter.


Happy gift knitting, my friends.  And if you'd like to read other knitting tales today, hop on over to Kat's for Unraveled Wednesday.

Go Your Own Way

(Here's a soundtrack to accompany today's post.)

(Yeah.  I know you're already humming it.  But click and watch.  It's vintage Fleetwood Mac.  1977.  And it is kind of awesome.)



Arrows is finished.


And I really, really love it!

First, I just loved the concept of the design when I first heard about it.  Woman Must Make Her Own Arrows.  Not a mystery . . . but an adventure!  Second, I loved digging through my yarn stash and choosing colors that would work together.  (I had this funny notion that I'd use up a lot of stash-yarn.  But, nope!  I still have PLENTY left. . . )  Seriously, I pondered the colors for a couple of weeks before I even started!  Next, I loved the knitting.  Pretty basic and simple (although you do need to count and keep track of rows) (a challenge all by itself, for me at least), but soothing and relaxing and always interesting.

But what I loved best was the deciding HOW, exactly, I wanted to make my own arrows!


I loved the . . . unfolding.  The process.  The making-it-up-as-I-went-along.

It was powerful.

And creative.

Like I was the boss of my own knitting!


Open up.
Everything's waiting for you.

Go your own way!


Click here for Ravelry details.


I want to thank all of you for weighing in and sharing your thoughts about my Border/Not Border decision.  In the end - as you can see - I opted for . . . Not Border.  After blocking, it just didn't seem to need one, structurally.  And the edges are naturally quite nice, thanks to a slipped stitch at the beginning of every row.  And - probably most importantly - I decided Not Border because the lines of the shawl are already very strong -- and a border would actually pull the focus from those already-strong, directional lines of the shawl itself.  

So.  Not Border.

And also Not Tassel. 

I did make some lovely beaded tassels.  They looked so cool and I thought I'd love them.  But I didn't.  It took only 5 minutes of wearing the shawl-with-tassels before I cut them off.  I guess I'm not a tassel person after all.  (Kind of like I'm not a pom-pom person. . .)


A Re-Raveling Tale

Several years ago, I knit a cardigan (this one) using Brooklyn Tweed Shelter.  It wasn't fancy.  Just a regular old throw-it-on kind of cardigan.  As in . . . throw-it-on over your pajamas when it's chilly in the house in the morning.  Or throw-it-on to go wander in the garden on a fall afternoon.  Or to walk the dogs.  You know.  That kind of cardigan.

But, while Shelter is a lovely yarn -- rustic, light, warm, comfortable -- it breaks easily.  And I had made the mistake of seaming with it.  When I went to throw-it-on last fall, I noticed several holes in the seams where the Shelter had just given out.


So I did what I often do with mending projects:  I folded it up and stuck it on a chair in my guest room.

To fix.


(And let's just say there was no throwing-this-on last year at all.)  

As the weather started turning cooler last week, I decided I didn't want to go another season without this cardigan.  I broke down and got out my mending-tools.


And set to work.


And in less than 30 minutes . . . 


we were back in business!

Let the throwing-it-on commence.


(And just in time.  Because it is suddenly cardigan season.)

As for what I'm reading?  In print, I have Lisette's List by Susan Vreeland (my latest book group selection, and - surprise - I'm really enjoying it).  In my ears, I have The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish . . . and it is excellent!  It's quite long (almost 600 pages/24 hours), but well worth the investment of time.


Today's post is part of Unraveled Wednesdays.  Head over to Kat's to see what everyone else has to say!