Category Archives: Knitting

Shifting to a Close

Two.
Squares.
Remain.

 Count ‘em,

One. Two.

The mitered square portion is almost over. I know you’re as tired of hearing about it as I am of the lamentations! Then it’s likely time for the moaning about the endless borders.  :)

Happy Monday!

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Slipcovers, Knitting & Road Trip Ahead

Road Trip ahead indeed. Friday morning we’ll head out to Panama City for a destination wedding, the dogs and I get to be wranglers so how could I say no to the trip? It’s an easy drive heading in a direction not often traveled in recent years so that’s also a plus. I know the road up to Hilton Head and the road down to Jacksonville like the back of my boring hand.

On the Knit Front, I was SOOOOO excited this weekend to think ONE LAST ROW of the Mitered Square Afghan….. and of course I was way too hasty. She is looking good though and amazing to me how truly spectacular the afghan is when set together!

TWO last rows. AND, as suspected there is no way that the navy blue yarn is going to make it for one remaining square using that color. Dammit. Which makes me wonder about road trip knitting since the four squares/sections of the afghan will not be set together for the binding to commence. Now, I could join sections 1 and 2 (the top 2 completed sections) and work the black border/sashing along the top of these. Then when section 4 is completed (with new blue yarn) squared 3 and 4 can marry, the border can go onto the bottom there….. THEN the center can be seamed and the two longest borders can be added to the sides. My head hurts and I can’t make myself think of the day it is DONE DONE DOOOOOOONE.

At this point *and we all know things change* ahem, I’ll take that as well as cast on for Pumpkin Ale. Which is blue and the moniker Pumpkin Ale doesn’t seem right, I’m going to have to work on that. Moldy Pumpkin Ale…. no— that is wrong on so many levels.

Above from Bespoke Knits in gorgeous blue, similar to my colorway.

Her blog has some spectacular knitting— check her out!

With the back cabled panel of the sweater to knit,  the border/sash along squares 1 & 2 (above) I’ll have PLENTY of knitting to do. Along with my watercolor journal I’ll be good to go.

Haircut? Tuesday.

Pedi? Thursday.

Packing? In between. I mean, I’ll be gone 3 days, I make it sound like a transatlantic journey to Nepal.

As usual, I’ll have more to DO than wear and when you factor in the bag for the dogs…….. there will barely be room enough to squeeze in my flat iron! There will be no discussion that I always take more to do than there is time for as well….. some things never change.

Slipcovers you ask? Yes. I need (in a big way) to slipcover the ugly nasty horrendous red chair. With a fab new recliner in the house the urgency dimmed a bit. BUT–I’m going to cover it with dropcloth fabric as I’ve discussed before, see it on the chair back below? It’s sitting out of the way in the studio and I’m hoping out of sight won’t make it out of mind. I’d love to have it done before company arrives over the 4th and frankly—– that is not at all likely to happen. The word “likely” shouldn’t even be used. The phrase “ain’t gonna” should be inserted in it’s stead. Plus…. there is a little bolt in the bottom of the chair frame that keeps dropping out. I think the frame needs to be shored up with a little wood, some liquid nails and a blop of locktite. See? This makes it a project of gargantuan proportions.

The pillow? Waiting on another bag of polyfil—– it was just a little somethin’ after the backpack idea was junked. I do love the fabric in a room that’s yellow, coral and blue.

Happy Monday- have a great week!

 

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No Knitting Content

So why is it that I’m not knitting? I’m SO CLOSE to the end of the endless boring can’t stand to look at it mitered square afghan. So close. I’ve searched my heart with assigned guilt and a bit of self loathing over the whole thing. I AM reading a lot. A whole lot. Which is great. And I’m definitely enjoying summer with much joy. But knitting? Not so much. I think I’m not knitting b/c I’ve promised myself to be monogamous to the afghan until it’s finished and maybe (just maybe) this is stifling me. Maybe a little walk on the wild side, cheating on my afghan with another project will break the log jams and restore my knitting mojo?

Remember this?

Pumpkin Ale……  I really am anxious to knit it and would love it to be a Christmas gift in the delicious denimy blue yarn waiting for me.

But the afghan needs to be finished first.

Or I could cheat on the afghan with a small little project….

Maybe little booties? These little sweeties from the new Creativebug class with Maggie Pace—- sigh.

Or…..Sakonette? A little froufrou?

Until I decide what to do I’m without sticks at all and up to book 3 in the Jack Reacher series. (Why did I wait so long!!)

Road trip next week for work to Panama City, should be fun. I’ll be packing some car knitting. Will it be Pumpkin Ale? Or will I make unofficial goal and have the mitered square afghan top finished and ready for the black ‘sashing’?

In the meantime……. there was homemade blueberry jam, so good! Served with fresh English Muffin Bread and although the recipe doesn’t make a lot there’s plenty to have with some fresh biscuits this weekend. Yum! Check the recipe HERE!

Photo: Homemade blueberry jam. Oh. My.

 

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It May be 3/4 Done BUT…

With three quarters of the Hue Shift Afghan DONE (woot!) I’m thrilled. I don’t kid myself, there are still 25 squares to knit in the final block. Then there is the border but really, why torture myself?

Regardless, she is a beautiful thing!

Sliding her into position with the other segments of the afghan it’s really fun, interesting, lovely and actually more complex looking than it is. Definitely the case where the total is greater than the sum of the parts!

I promised myself the past two evenings that I’d cast on the first block of the final quarter but so far that hasn’t happened………. it’s okay, right?

Combining the quarters of the afghan is something that will likely take more time than I’d like it to! Looking at the separate pieces you ca see where the rows with subtly shifting color will need to line up just right with an invisible join and a flat piece. Without illusion I know it’s going to be harder than it looks. Patience will be the key and I’m preparing myself now. A lot of the bumplies will be handled when it is blocked but assembly will be key to getting an excellent final product.

Stay tuned for Foundation Friday— NOT knitting!  :)

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Tired. Home. Behind.

Well if that doesn’t just sum it up.

Tired.

Home.

Behind.

and in all honesty adding TIRED again wouldn’t be a lie!

Asheville and the superfast run through was lovely and has inspired me to go back again this fall and enjoy it…

I always have to go visit the “Look Homeward Angel”, no matter how many times I’ve seen her. And the itch to read Thomas Wolfe again, geez! :)

Louisville was great, the Bourbon Trail fantastic…..

and although there was not much knitting done, I FINISHED THE THIRD QUARTER OF THE HUE SHIFT AFGHAN!!!! Woot and woot. Pics to come because I’m pretty excited about how it’s all coming together as we enter the final phase! In the photo above I’m sitting in a local coffee shop {Heine Brothers, yum} and commemorating the very last square of section 3.

Happy April, be creative! Whatcha’ doin?

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Afghan Update: Yes, Still Knitting!

I got the sweetest email last week asking if I’d given up on the afghan. Nope. Still knitting madly away. There are four more squares to go in the last row of the third quarter. Then one last quarter in the home stretch! (Well there is the border but I really can’t think about that now!)

I’ll be heading out on Wednesday en route to Louisville and I’d love to have the third quarter done so I can take along a fresh project (Pumpkin Ale from Ysolda Teague):

 

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The back is knit first, I can’t wait for all that cabley goodness!

As an avid St. Louis Blues hockey fan, the mid day games over the weekend played havoc with my sewing. Other than about an hour’s sewing time in, (in pieces no less)– I haven’t much to show for it.

Happy Monday— my week will be getting the oil changed and packing for my trip, I’m bummed that the weather will be much cooler this next weekend on the Bourbon Trail. Although, come to think of it, bourbon does a fine job of warming one up! Somewhere in between now and the time the car rolls out I’ll need to do one of my least favorite things in the world—– shop for undies. Blech. Wish me luck!

 

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Afghan Progress & Over-Zennation + Evernote

I swear I  have knit the first row of section 3 in the Hue Shift Afghan ten times!  Somehow, returning to the afghan after knitting other projects and being otherwise creative left me with empty brain syndrome. With a weekend of chilly weather and after a biiiiiiig project workwise, I just needed to sit with a cup of tea (or twelve) and knit in the Zen Zone. I’m here to tell you that one can be too Zen, achieving over zennation can not only make a knitter create mistakes but often wait until so late in the knitting session that a fairly large chunk has to be completely frogged.

The blocks of the afghan are knit in mitered square fashion meaning that they are picked up in different methods depending where the block is in relation to the afghan overall. The first square is easy, only one way to get it done. From there I think I made mistakes in the next three squares. AFTER already making a big one in the block before. Seriously……….. whether I was too tired, too Zen or just too careless, that first row finally finished had a happy dance around it!!

I got so frustrated with myself and my progress I had to unfold the two completed and waiting segments of Hue Shift and just gaze upon it’s loveliness!

Sections 1 & 2 of Hue Shift Afghan

It’s so gorgeous! More than a chance exists to have difficulty giving this away next Christmas!

The first row of the new section (once knit a zillion times) is a beauty as well. These squares shift hues in the blue range and are surprisingly enjoyable to knit even with two sections under my needles. I think the Olympic break and a bit of cheating on this project did everyone a lot of good!

And on we go.

And go some more.  Pic below taken from my Sunday night ‘nest’ on the couch. With wine.

Do you use Evernote? My Evernote had sat pretty much empty for a couple of years. I used it in spurts and for the most part hadn’t fallen into any sort of rhythm with it. With a lot of new projects in the planning stages for sewing this spring I’ve kicked Evernote in the pants and am on my way to using it full time and to a much more efficient and effective end.  Let’s play with Evernote for creative souls next post, okay?

See ya’ then!

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On the Biscuit Front + Knitting

Another knitting project finished, the oh so sweet Bunny Beanie!   It flew off the needles on Saturday, nice to have a project that’s done in a day and darling to boot!

The pattern calls for a picot cast on and I didn’t bother— not that it isn’t a great idea but the likelihood that the brim of this beanie will be rolled tight enough to obliterate that little detail is fairly high. Plain cast on, plain edge.

I used an aran weight yarn from stash in off white, the ears are lighter weight in a rosy pink and I think it’s a chunky cotton but I’m not sure as the ball band had disappeared. Once again, the pattern calls for a pink (inner ear) angora but since I had none I swapped it out. I think the inside of the ears would be adorable in an eyelash yarn.

Here she is with the beanie body completed and waiting for ears.

One ear above…. seamed along one edge so it makes an ear, folded on the bottom so it has (and holds) it’s shape but also it gives the ears something to “sit” on as it perches on the beanie. I left a bit of goosey loopy-ness inside the ears which is actually the first and last stitch of the pink yarn. You could stitch it so it’s completely smooth as the ear sits….. I liked a bit of texture.

**STINKIN’ CUTE!!!**

I know I’ll knit this again as a bunny for a baby gift in the future, I’ll also use the beanie base for other cute baby toques! It hasn’t been washed with a gentle blocking pat down yet, sure to make it even cuter!

On the biscuit front (because biscuits make the world go round), my ‘daily’ biscuit recipe is Crisco based—– my last batch was butter based.

The biscuits were amazing! Layers and layers of flakyness, super delicious.

But I asked myself, how can you incorporate a little bit of softness?

Is that possible?

And I made a sheet of biscuits using half butter and half butter Crisco. Both pans of biscuits were cut using a sharp knife into 6 portions, no round cutter used, both had the same treatment. Exactly half ice cold butter and half butter Crisco. Non self rising flour and the same amount of leavening.

‘cuse the horrible photo.

You can see that there ARE layers, but not as many. The flavor was divine divine divine! The crumb was tender and quite soft. These biscuits even at half and half favored their Crisco Mama more than their Butter Daddy.  I was expecting flakier I think….. but they were only slightly more flaky than a traditional Crisco biscuit. But good, believe me when I say that!

My favorite? I surprise myself when I say that those butter beauties are currently enchanting me…. calling me…… the siren song of their buttery layers telling me that we are meant for one another. Damn. They’re good.

The recipe is my riff on the Epicurious classic using buttermilk instead of cream and salted butter.

2 cups all-purpose flour (I used King Arthur)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter (I used salted)
3/4 cup heavy cream (I used buttermilk)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425°F. and lightly grease a baking sheet.

Into a large bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut 5 tablespoons butter into bits and with your fingertips or a pastry blender blend into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add cream, stirring with a fork until just combined. Transfer mixture to a lightly floured surface and gently knead about 3 times until it just forms a dough. Pat dough into a 6 1/2-inch round (about 1/2 inch thick).  I cut mine with a knife into 6 biscuits with one sharp quick stroke of the knife.

Using a 2 1/2-inch round cutter cut out biscuits and arrange about 1 inch apart on baking sheet. Gather and pat out scraps and cut out more biscuits. (I patted out the biscuits and cut into 6 biscuits using a sharp knife and carefully placed them on a baking sheet)

Melt remaining tablespoon butter and lightly brush onto biscuits. Bake biscuits in middle of oven until pale golden and cooked through, about 20 minutes. (I didn’t butter the tops).

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Hello March- New Swatching!

I’m glad to kick February to the curb and to be honest I can’t complain about the horrors of weather that much of the country has had! This week along the SE Coast it’s been 77 one day and 55 the next!

With the Aran Baby Cardi finished I’ve been auditioning new patterns for the project that will alternate with the Hue Shift Afghan. WHICH by the way, I have not picked up since the Olympics break (with good excuse, I’ve had a few projects to get off my desk work-wise) and I’m actually going to be happy to see it again. Okay, maybe happy is the wrong word— but I do need to get it going again!!

I’m anxious to knit a fun little project, the Bunny Beanie! It’s adorable and from a bit of yarn play and swatching it looks as if a chunkier yarn will be called for.

Super cute and so is that adorable baby!!! Its a free pattern HERE.

Try as I might the white yarn wont work unless it’s doubled and I hate to knit with yarn held double. I have a bit of an off white aran weight in my stash and that yarn will likely get the starring beanie role.

The BIG New Project will be Fanny Fouche! I adore Ellen Mason Patterns for their style, ease of knitting, fantastic directions and clever wit. When it came time to choose a pattern for a new sweater this one was on the short list and made the final cut.  You may remember that I knit another of her sweater designs a couple years back, Lorna Suzanne. LOVED to knit that sweater and it’s still a favorite!

I showed off the swatching in progress on Facebook with no details as this will be a gift for my daughter.

The swatch is very close if not bang on— always makes me nervous!

The yarn had to be acrylic for my daughter who never in a million years is going to fuss with this, and that is a tall order. I decided on Brava from Knit Picks, it’s soft as can be and strong as well. I love this color which will look great on my blue eyed child with the great figure.

And you’re right—– the Baby Owl Hat is not done. I think after such dedicated knit monogamy I’m feeling a bit restless and swatch and plan because I can!

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Last Week in February {Whew!}

I’m extremely glad to see February leave. First, it’s been too cold for coastal Georgia by a long shot and as we inch toward March (one of my favorite months here) the azaleas are beginning to show a bloom or two, it’s as if a few of them can’t wait another second for spring either! It’s the end of bridal show season which means a bit less stress and definitely fewer weekends on my feet.

Olympic knitting is over, this time I didn’t assign myself a crazy stress producer and was able to get the Aran Baby Sweater finished to include the wash and block in fairly laid back time.

I’ll be back to catch up after I– well— catch up!

Before blocking

After blocking

After blocking the sweater became very very soft, rather unexpected in an Aran sweater but this kept it’s nice stitch definition while being ultra soft for Baby G. Love the buttons too, think they turned out really great!

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