Tag Archive | scarf

FO Friday: 2015 in Review, Yarn Edition

So here it is, January 1, 2016, the start of a brand new year.  As is my custom, I’ll start the new year by taking a look back at the old.  And, because today is Friday, this look back will include all the FOs that haven’t been seen yet because, um, Christmas.  In fact, let’s start with that first.  You can click on each of the pics to be taken to the Ravelry project page for all yarn and pattern details.

Two of my colleagues had babies near the end of the year.  Colleague number one received a version of what has become my go-to quickie baby blanket, the Great Granny, from the sadly defunct magazine, Crochet Today.  This one was made with acrylic worsted left over from the Tunisian Terror.

Jason's Granny 2

Colleague number two received something I called the Jets Stroller Blanket, from another Crochet Today pattern.  This was also a repeat use of the pattern: I made my mother a larger version of this blanket several years ago.  Why “Jets Stroller Blanket”?  My colleague is a huge New York Jets fan; he was expecting a baby boy, so naturally said boy will become a Jets fan (unless he suffers through a major teenage rebellion phase, but that’s years away, so let’s not worry about it); therefore, the color scheme of the blanket is the Jets’ team colors.  This is made with a chunky washable wool that feels marvelous.

Aaron's Baby Blanket 3

A young friend (the woman who was the stage manager of the play I did in May) had a birthday late in the year.  She is a big Harry Potter aficionado, so I found out her Hogwarts House and made her a Gryffindor Scarf for her birthday.  This is my own pattern because I couldn’t find one I liked that I could knit fast enough (I found out about her birthday late late late).  I haven’t decided if I’ll write it up and put it on Ravelry — there are so many other Hogwarts scarves out there already.  Regardless, she loved it, and that made me happy.  The yarn is Universal’s Uptown Worsted, which is fast becoming my preferred acrylic now that Bernat Berella 4 has been discontinued.  (I borrowed my husband’s college robes and mortarboard for the picture.  You must imagine him rolling his eyes while shooting.)

Gryffindor Scarf 3

Now let’s take a look at the Christmas gifts.  I started working on gifts early in the year — and have posted blog entries about several finished projects already — but even with that head start, I had to rush rush rush to finish the projects shown here, and a couple of them didn’t get finished until the weekend AFTER Christmas.  Oops.

First up is the Saroyan Scarf, a free pattern made using Cascade 220 Superwash in a brilliant red.  I like making these crescent scarves knit from side to side.  The knitting is more manageable when done along the short edge, not to mention the ease of casting on.

Saroyan 1

Then there’s the Gansey Cap from Vogue Fall 2015, using Cascade Longwood in Navy.  The Longwood is an Aran superwash, silky soft and perfect for people who, while not allergic to wool, may have sensitive skin and get itchy with wool worn right next to their skin.  This wool is not itchy in the least.  It may become my new 100% wool hat yarn.

Gansey Watch Cap 4

The Harald Watch Cap is an Elsebeth Lavold pattern that kept my interest the whole time I worked on it.  I had to pay close attention to all those crossing cables.  Unfortunately, the photographs turned out like crap, so you can’t really see the intricate detail in the finished hat.  The yarn is from Copper Corgi Fiber Studio and is a deep chocolate brown worsted that somehow showed up as nearly burgundy when photographed.

Harald Watch Cap 6

In another photograph fail, this striped watch cap (using Ann Budd’s Basic Hat pattern) is made from the same yarn as the Jets Stroller Blanket shown above, although you’d never guess from the picture.

Striped Watch Cap 2

I learned the braided yarn technique while making the Brim Braid Hat (an Interweave Knits pattern).  I also economized a bit by using Cascade 220 Superwash left over from previous projects.

Braided Brim Cap 1

I used Cascade Longwood again, in a bright blue, for the Vermeer Hat (free pattern if you’re a Rowan member).   The pattern also includes fingerless mitts with the same cable pattern, so you can knit a matching set if you wish.

Vermeer 4

Back to the Cascade 220 Superwash for the Windsor Hat, another free pattern from Rowan — part of their 2012 Jubilee Collection to commemorate Queen Elizabeth’s 60th year on the throne.

Windsor 1

Finally, I pulled out an old old finished scarf that had never been blocked and plopped it into the gift pile.  The yarn, as best as I can remember, was Plymouth Encore, and the pattern is the Forever Scarf from Interweave Knits.

Forever in Camo 1.JPG

And that’s it for the FOs.  Well, at least the FOs that can be shared.  I actually finished a project today but it hasn’t been blocked or photographed, so we’ll save it for another blog post.

Now for the rest of the year in yarn.

Projects completed in 2015: 19 total, and every single one of them a gift for someone else.  I didn’t make one single thing for myself this year.  If I have to make a New Year’s resolution, it’s that 2016 will be the year of selfish knitting.

Techniques learned:  The braided brim technique shown on one of the caps above, which involved two colors in the same row, convinced me that, yes, I can indeed handle Fair Isle.

Yarn used:  This is the reason I use Knit Meter.  The visual representation is cool, plus it’s easier to keep track in one spot, especially since it does the math for you.

Yarn purchased:   59 skeins of lusciousness, including a couple of skeins of 100% cashmere and several more skeins of cashmere blends.  A number of yarn stores within a reasonable drive of Atlanta closed their doors and put their stock on sale at a deep discount.  My friend Alice and I went hog wild.  Plus I went on a couple of trips.  I always have to buy local yarn when on a trip.  *sigh*  I don’t even want to add up the yardage acquired.  Another friend and I were discussing our stashes recently and she figures that, if I never bought another yard, and if I knit at the rate of three sweaters or seven small projects (such as scarves and socks) per year, I have sufficient yarn to last the next 40 years.  I’m in my mid 50s, so that’s enough yarn for the rest of my life.  Personally, I think I’m good for more knitting per year than that (ahem, 19 projects this year!), so let’s call it a 20-year stash.  I’m ready for the apocalypse,or retirement, at the very least.

I can’t find anyone to link to for an FO Friday round-up.  If I thought I had enough self-discipline to manage such an undertaking, I’d start one myself.  If next week is the same, I’ll investigate further.  Perhaps an automated post with a “Mr. Linky” set-up might work.

Stay tuned, please.  A project planning post is forthcoming in the next day or two, as is a post about the year in books.

Oh, yeah, and Happy New Year!

FO Friday: The Gallatin Scarf

Today’s featured finished project was completed so quickly it didn’t even get its own Work In Progress Wednesday blog entry!

Gallatin 4Pattern:  Gallatin Scarf by Kris Basta (click here for my Ravelry project page)

Yarn:  Kudo by Plymouth, colorway #45 Cream Blue Gray. It’s too bad this yarn is discontinued. It’s surprisingly warm, given that it contains no wool, making it the perfect choice for people with wool allergies.

Needles:  Addi Turbo circs, US 10, with a 29-inch cable.  The pattern calls for US 10.5, but I didn’t like the look of the lace with that large a needle.  Dropping down a needle size made the scarf somewhat smaller, but not enough that it made a difference in wearability.

Size:  68 inches wide by 9 inches deep, unblocked

Gallatin 2Satisfaction with end product:  Very pleased.  I didn’t block this scarf because I liked the rustic look it has unblocked.  Even without blocking, the scarf is plenty long enough to wrap around the neck twice, or wear kerchief style as shown on the model (um, that would be yours truly). I love how Kudo’s long color repeats worked out to accentuate the striping effect created by the alternating stockinette/reverse stockinette above the lace edging.

The long cable was a little unwieldy at the beginning, considering the pattern starts off by casting on just four stitches.  If I make this again, which is a possibility, I’ll use a shorter cable at the start and switch to a longer cable midway through.

Freshly Finished Friday

Also, this makes one more Christmas gift down, once I figure out the appropriate giftee.  🙂

This post is part of the Freshly Finished Friday round-up hosted by HardKnitLife.  Click the badge to see who else has finished items to show off this week.

FO Friday, and Happy WordPress Anniversary to me

Five years ago today I established this blog, or so WordPress says.  Has it really been that long?  I had no idea.  I moved over here from Vox, which at that time was a going-out-of-business blog platform and not a vibrant and flourishing news site.  So, yay, and happy WordPress anniversary to me.  As an anniversary gift, I present to you another blog entry.  🙂

I finished a book and a scarf this week.

The book was Seveneves by Neal Stephenson: hard SF at its finest, but easily accessible for non-scientists and non-mathematicians like me.  The moon is destroyed and Earth is running out of time.  How will the human race survive this extinction event?  Read it and find out.  Even if you don’t care for science fiction itself, this is so well-written and moving, the humanity of the story might win you over.  Click the book cover to read the full non-spoilery review.

Chinook 8Now, the scarf. You saw this first on last week’s WIP Wednesday. Because I, um, have been avoiding sewing up the Tunisian Terror, this scarf-cum-shawlette got lots of attention.

PatternChinook Scarf by Ali Green.  Very well-written pattern, really easy to follow.

Yarn: Cozette by Knit One Crochet Two, 257 yards of a 275-yard skein.  Colorway: Sea Glass.

Needles: Addi Turbo Clicks with a short cable, US size 7.

Size:  64 inches wide, 14 inches deep

Chinook 12Satisfaction with end product:  I think it’s grand.  The scarf is ultra-lightweight because of the high silk content of the yarn, plus it has a lovely drape.  I love the knitted-in I-cord edging along the top, which made a sturdy and even straight edge to support the rest of the design. The icy color will coordinate well with many outfits.  It should make a nice transitional piece or year-round accessory.  It’s intended as a gift.  Now I just have to figure out who it belongs to.

Chinook 11Because I don’t know when to quit, here are a couple more photos.  As always, click any of the photos to see them full size.

Chinook 6Freshly Finished FridayThis blog entry is part of the Freshly Finished Friday round-up hosted by HardKnitLife.  Click that badge to see what other folks have finished this week and add your link to the list.  Also linked with Gracey’s Goodies, so check that out too.

WIP Wednesday: The end of the Tunisian Terror is in sight

Remember the Tunisian Terror?  The blanket I started for my mother in April 2014?  I finished all the crocheting in April of this year and then started the embellishments.  Behold!  All the cross-stitching is done!

Mom's Tunisian 28

Here it is laid out in the order in which it will be assembled.  Now all that remains is the sewing together of the squares.  One row is sewn, eight rows remain to be sewn, and then comes stitching the rows to each other and putting a border on it.  Stitching the squares together doesn’t really take long: I can do one row in an evening of TV watching, but truthfully, I’m so sick of looking at this thing that the blanket is lucky if I even pick up one row in a week.

Aarons Baby 1 Chinook 1Also in progress, two new projects — first, a baby blanket, the tried-and-true giant granny square of many colors for a colleague who is expecting a boy.  All the leftover yarn from the Tunisian Terror is coming in handy for this one.  I have another colleague also expecting a baby, but gender is unknown at this point, so that blanket will wait a bit.  Also, I started another Christmas gift, the Chinook scarf, out of the drapy-est silk and cotton blend you ever felt, in a color called Sea Glass.

In book news, I just finished A Sudden Light by Garth Stein and started Seveneves by Neal Stephenson.  Review pending of the Garth Stein book but it will be a favorable one.  I’m less than 100 pages into the Stephenson and completely enthralled.

100_4341 (2)Bonus picture:  Here’s Phoebe, who keeps me company when I’m here in my craft room writing or winding yarn or planning projects or simply goofing around on Facebook.  She’s getting older these days and doesn’t have any teeth left, but she’s still a good dog.  Aren’t you, sweetie?  Of course you are.

This post is part of Stitch-Along Wednesday.  Click on that badge below to see what other folks have been up to this week.  Also, go check out Shadow’s Knit Knacks Link-up post and add your link at the bottom.

Stitch Along Wednesday

Save

Freshly Finished Friday: Hot off the blocking wires

I’ve had busy fingers the last few weeks. Behold:

Before blocking

Before blocking

This beauty came off the blocking wires this morning.

Pattern: Ironwork Shawl from Interweave Knits Spring 2012 (click here for the Ravelry project page)
Yarn: Cascade Dolce in Teal, approx 57 yards; Cascade Superwash 220 in Red, approx. 82 yards
Needles: US size 10.5 straight; US size 11 circular
Process/ Satisfaction with end result: This little shawl is a superfast knit with that worsted weight yarn. The pattern is well-written and easy to follow.

After blocking

After blocking

I wish it had a chart, because I prefer charts when knitting lace, but the written instructions were perfectly clear.

I should really learn to trust that blocking fixes a lot of perceived issues. When this first came off the needles, I thought: Well, the colors are nice together, but I’m not too sure about the whole mixing of these totally disparate lace patterns. Then, after blocking, I fell head over heels in love. It’s gorgeous.

Before blocking

Before blocking

Two other projects came out of the same skein of vibrant orange yarn.

This hat is another example of how blocking changes a project from a crumpled mess that doesn’t seem large enough for a child into a fabulous beret suitable for the most discriminating of beret wearers.

Pattern: Rustling Leaves by Alana Dakos (click here for the Ravelry project page)
Yarn: Savannah Sock by Copper Corgi Yarn Studio in colorway “Devil’s Kiss”, approx 152 yards

After blocking

After blocking

Needles: US Size 2; US Size 3
Process/ Satisfaction with end product: Alana Dakos writes the most beautiful patterns. Her instructions are clear and concise; her charts are phenomenal; and I’ve yet to encounter any errata in anything of hers I’ve done, so she must have a fabulous vetting team. She’s easily my favorite designer. (Just because she hails from the county where I grew up doesn’t mean I’m partial or anything. Really.) This little hat is no exception to the high quality work I’ve come to expect from Ms. Dakos. It’s a breeze to knit, and fun, and cute as can be.

Just for grins, here's another photo of the hat so you can see the lacy leaves a little better.

Just for grins, here’s another photo of the hat so you can see the lacy leaves a little better.

We'll always have Paris.

We’ll always have Paris.

The third project completed was also lace: a scarf, this time.

Pattern: Raha Scarf by Nancy Bush (click here for Ravelry project page)
Yarn: Savannah Sock by Copper Corgi Yarn Studio in colorway “Devil’s Kiss”, approx 198 yards
Needles: US Size 4
Process/ Satisfaction with end product: My gauge was way off on this, and by the time I realized it, I was several inches into the scarf and didn’t want to rip it back and go to a larger needle. Knowing that the project would need a good hard block to make the specified width, I added an extra repeat of the lace pattern to make up for the extra tight gauge; even then, the scarf blocked out three inches shorter than the pattern specified. Good written instructions and an excellent lace chart. The lace pattern is not your usual leaves and flowers; it’s reminiscent of filet crochet, in fact. I like it a lot.

Freshly Finished FridayThat’s it from me for Freshly Finished Friday. Click the badge over there, follow the link-up at the bottom of the post, and take a gander at what other folks have accomplished this week.

2014 in review: Yarn

2014 wasn’t a productive year for yarncraft. I finally figured out why this past weekend, after Jacquenetta was gone. When she became so ill, she spent so much time in my lap during the evenings that knitting and crocheting came to a virtual standstill. I couldn’t work on projects without getting her fur all over them, but I could read, so I traded yarn for books. Snuggling her for the last few months of her life was worth every moment, and be damned to lackluster productivity in the yarn arena.

Projects finished in 2014: Three.

Wanderer Scarf 2The first, finished on New Year’s Day 2014, was the Wanderer Scarf, seen here modeled by spouse. The pattern and the yarn are from Rowan. It was intended as a gift for a friend in Washington, and finally was mailed off to said individual shortly before Christmas.

Buds and Blooms 21Next was my new favorite cardigan, A Rose in Winter, finished January 31. The pattern is “Buds and Blooms” by Alana Dakos. The pattern calls for endless endless stockinette, but that only serves as a backdrop for the gorgeous details: the buds and vine pattern up the back, the flowers on the pockets, the deeply ribbed collar. I also loved the yarn I used (Chris by Schaefer, now sadly out of business), and that gorgeous pomegranate color.

Penny's Granny 2The only other finished project was a giant granny square baby blanket, made for the new grandbaby of one of my colleagues. I grabbed a variety of high quality acrylic leftovers in my stash and threw them together to come up with the color scheme for the blanket. This is the fastest, easiest baby blanket I’ve ever made, and the pattern become my go-to pattern for quickie shower gifts.

Projects started in 2014 and not yet finished: Three.

Wildflower 6The day after the Rose in Winter cardi was finished, I cast on another of Alana Dakos’ patterns, the Wildflower Cardigan, using Elsebeth Lavold’s Silky Wool in a deep caramel color. This is another cardigan with vast expanses of stockinette but exquisite little details that make those vast expanses worth the tedium. The back of the cardigan is finished; the right front has been sitting here in my craft room, waiting patiently for me to pick it up again. Soon, my darling, soon.

Tunisian Terror squaresAt Christmas 2013, Mom picked out a blanket pattern in one of my afghan books. In April 2014, she bought the yarn and shipped it to me. Thus, the Tunisian Terror was born. The thing that slows me down with this project is the boredom. Each square is the same: one color surrounded by a border of black single crochet. The pattern calls for some multi-colored squares, but I haven’t got there yet. And each square, once finished and assembled, will be cross-stitched, so there’s some excitement to be had down the road. The finished blanket has 63 squares. I’ve got roughly half of those done.

Ultra Pima cardi attemptCome summer, I decided I needed to knit a lacy cotton cardigan to wear over sleeveless dresses, which serves two purposes: warding off the air-conditioned indoor chill that is everywhere during summer in the South; and making said sleeveless dresses appropriate for the office. Yes, I know it’s old-fashioned of me, but some reptilian portion of my brain won’t quite accept that “sleeveless” is now in keeping with professional office attire. I am determined to use this turquoise-colored Cascade Ultra Pima that’s been hibernating in my stash for several years, but have had nothing but trouble in finding the right pattern. I think I’ve started three or four separate patterns with the Cascade and ripped each one of them out after getting roughly five inches into the piece. I’ll keep experimenting until something clicks.

Projects started in previous years but not finished: Nope, not telling. Let’s just say there is more than one (*cough*spouse’s socks*cough*)

New techniques learned:

  • Tunisian crochet: Learning Tunisian crochet (Tunisian simple stitch only) was easier than I thought. I will no longer shy away from Tunisian patterns, even if they call for something other than TSS, because if I can learn that stitch by reading the directions, I can learn them all!
  • Mitered squares: This technique was taught me in a class at Stitches South in April. I have yet to put the technique to use, but the instructions and my practice swatches are sitting right here in my craft room, just waiting.

Stash acquired: Um. A lot. A good sight more than I used, that’s for darn sure. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Stash used: Not very much. As noted above, I only completed three projects. I’ll never go cold sheep, because such is beyond my willpower, but this year will probably be a diminished year in stash acquisition because I’m not going to Stitches in April. It’s been moved to Nashville and the travel budget just isn’t available. So, yay for the bank account? And yay for shopping the stash!

So, here we go, 2015! New year, new crafting opportunities, new patterns to read, new AND old yarn to fondle, new techniques to learn or put into practice. It’s going to be a good one.

FO Friday: I’m a wanderer. Yes, I’m a wanderer. I roam around around around around.

Spouse as model.

Spouse as model.

So, the Wanderer Scarf is finished. Feast your eyes upon the beauty!

The scarf, I mean. Although my husband the model is awfully handsome, too. 🙂

Pattern: Wanderer Scarf by Martin Storey
Yarn: Rowan Soft Tweed (discontinued), colorway Twig, 5 skeins (435 yards)
Needles: Addi Turbo US 11
Finished size: Approximately 6 inches wide and 8 feet long
Satisfaction with end product: I think it’s wonderful. The texture is amazing, and it’s cushiony soft and warm. I hope its intended recipient will like it.

Here are a few other pictures that show the texture in more detail.

If you click the pic, you can see them full size.

Wanderer Scarf 10Wanderer Scarf 7Wanderer Scarf 6

And now, for your amusement, here are pics of spouse being silly with stereotypical catalog model poses.

Wanderer Scarf 3 Wanderer Scarf 4

With goofiness like this in my house on a daily basis, is it any wonder I keep him around?

7cde9-fofridayThis post is part of the FO Friday roundup, hosted by Tami’s Amis. Click that badge over there to see what other folks have finished this week.

FO Friday: The Third Day of Christmas Edition

Wouldn’t it be lovely if we celebrated Christmas the old-fashioned way? Let the month of December be the reflective season of Advent, with the focus on preparation for the coming of the Christ; and let Christmas be the celebration of that holy birth with the traditional twelve days of joy and gift-giving, beginning on Christmas Day. Of course, the religious aspects of this sort of celebratory tradition will apply only if one follows Christianity, but still, isn’t it a marvelous idea: a winter month of solemn contemplation and introspection, followed by almost two weeks of joyous revelry?

We do this in a small fashion in our home: I refuse to put the Christmas decorations away until Epiphany (January 6), the thirteenth day after Christmas. The gift-giving, not so much, except for you, dear readers. Here on this third day of Christmas, I give to you three completed projects.

Entrelac CowlPattern: Entrelac Cowl by Preita Salyer
Yarn: Noro Cashmere Island, colorway #6, two skeins (220 yds). Actually, it was just under two skeins. I had barely 4 grams of yarn left out of 40, and that works out to about 11 yards remaining. I don’t like having a lot of leftover yarn, so that was perfect. Mini yarn review: This yarn is a single, and it tended to break. A lot. But it was soft and cushy, and the end product is so lusciously warm and cozy, it makes the breakage worth the trouble, at least in this small project. In a larger project, I can see it becoming a royal pain. However, the yarn is discontinued and, except for those 11 yards, I have no more, so it’s a moot issue at this point.
Needles: Addi Turbo U.S. size 6, 20-inch circular
Satisfaction with end product: As mentioned above, the cowl is warm and cozy and cushy and soft. It’s big enough to pull up and cover the wearer’s ears, if needed, but not so big it can’t be worn beneath a coat. I liked it a lot. In fact, I was tempted to keep it for myself, but it was always intended as my sister’s birthday present, so I gave it to her. By the way, this was my first entrelac project, and I’m quite pleased with the result. Noro, with its long color repeats, is the perfect yarn for entrelac. And, as I knitted each tiny square, I used the “knitting backwards” technique I learned at Stitches South in April so I didn’t have to turn my work every seven stitches, making the knitting go faster because I didn’t have to constantly re-adjust my yarn and tension.

Molissa's Scarf 1
Molissa's Scarf 4
Pattern: Richelieu Scarf by Carol Wolf
Yarn: Southwest Trading Company Tofutsies, colorway #921, approximately 390 yards of a 464-yard skein. Mini yarn review: Easy on the hands, no breakage, nice soft feel and drape. I have another skein in a different colorway that I’ll definitely use, maybe for a shawlette.
Hook: Boye aluminum, U.S. Size G
Size: Roughly 7 feet in length, and 8 inches in width. Plenty long enough to wrap around one’s head and neck and still leave a decorative tail to drape across one’s coat.
Satisfaction with end product: Pleased. The pattern was fairly simple for me. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to a beginner. Also, I’d have preferred the directions to have been charted, but the written directions were easy enough to follow. The scarf itself blocked out beautifully, with a wonderful drape. I was a little unsure about that intricately-detailed edging. I was afraid it would look busy or sloppy, but it blocked out nicely. This was a gift for my sister-in-law, who made all the appropriate noises of appreciation.

Craft Room 1Craft Room 2
And finally, this. All the yarn is sorted into the appropriate bins; all the bins are stored in their cubes; all the books and magazines are on the shelves; the sewing machine is stored in the closet but the table is ready for use; the sewing notions, knitting needles, and assorted craft accessories are organized and put away; in short, OMG, it’s a craft room! Thank you to my fabulous spouse who not only assembled the wall units and set them up, he didn’t complain (much) at the cost of said wall units and fabric bins. Craft Room 3Now all I need is a comfy chair and ottoman for sitting and knitting, and all will be perfect! Well, almost perfect. There’s still one corner of the room that needs a little help, and I have several doilies made by my late grandmother that need to be pinned out and mounted in shadowboxes and hung as decor. But the work surface for such pinning and mounting is available!

7cde9-fofridayThis post is part of the FO Friday round-up hosted by Tami’s Amis. Click on that badge over there to see what other folks have finished up this Friday.

Save

WIP Wednesday: The Thankful Edition

Spouse in his alter ego as the Rock God

Spouse in his alter ego as the Rock God

Since the beginning of November, a number of friends on Facebook have been making daily public statements of things for which they are grateful. This is a lovely practice, often seen this time of year, and something in which I usually participate. For whatever reason, this year I didn’t manage to make any daily pronouncements of gratitude. That doesn’t mean I don’t have anything deserving of gratitude, mind you. Thus, the gratitude blog entry!

I am grateful for my husband, that long-suffering handsome hunk of man who puts up with each quirk and obsession I inflict upon him, who does the majority of the cooking and the cleaning up in

This was taken in 2006 on their 45th wedding anniversary.  They haven't changed much.

This was taken in 2006 on their 45th wedding anniversary. They haven’t changed much.

the kitchen afterward, who also handles cleaning the dogs’ messy butts and the cats’ messy urps when needed
(because I’m incapable of doing either without urps of my own), who tolerates the never-ending fur and books and yarn and dust, who simply rolls his eyes at the constant rotation of science fiction TV series on the Blu-Ray player and Netflix, and who loves me in spite of myself.

I’m grateful for my parents for pretty much all the same reasons I’m grateful for my husband, except my sister and I clean their kitchen when we’re at their house because they deserve to sit down with a cup of coffee and a little rest after all these years.

My brother and his family

My brother and his family

My sister and two of her "boys"

My sister and two of her “boys”

I’m grateful for my siblings, as well. They’re both smart and funny and quirky in their own ways, although both of them will tell you I’m the weirdo of the bunch, and then shake their heads in resignation at the sheer nerdiness of their oldest sibling. Doesn’t matter, though, because we’re family. And we love each other.

Long live the Queen!

Long live the Queen!

I’m grateful for the four fuzzballs who have graciously condescended to share their lives with us. They’ve provided much joy and laughter over the years, and I live in hope they will continue to do so for many years to come. I’m especially thankful the Grande Dame of them all, Lady Jacquenetta, is still with us. She’s nearly 20 now, old enough that I’m starting to wonder how much more time we’ll have with her.

Wanderer Scarf in progress

Wanderer Scarf in progress

I’m grateful for the manual dexterity and the “just enough to be dangerous” computer and HTML knowledge that permits me to type entries like this, and permits me to create items using two sticks and some string, or a hook and some string, whatever the project may require. One such item is the Wanderer scarf I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. I just added the third (or was it the fourth?) ball of Rowan Soft Tweed on Monday evening, and think this may be the last ball of yarn I’ll need for it. It’s hard to tell in this photo, but the texture of the alternating cables and seed stitch sections is marvelous, both to see and to feel.

The amazing color pooling change

The amazing color pooling change

The other project currently (still) on the needles are spouse’s socks. I think I’ll take those with us when we go to Alabama tomorrow for Thanksgiving dinner with the fam. Notice the change in the pooling in that photo! Per pattern instructions, I went down one needle size — from a size 1-1/2 US to a size 1 US — when halfway down the cuff, and am amazed at what a difference such a small change made in the yarn’s look.

ab2a5-tami_wipI bet you were wondering how I was going to work WIP yarn stuff into a gratitude blog post. And how all that gratitude relates to a WIP Wednesday post in the first place. Well, I believe we are all works in progress, and maintaining gratitude is one of the ways we grow as human beings.

This post is part of Tami’s Amis WIP Wednesday blog roll. Click that badge over there to view other WIP Wednesday blog entries, about yarn, people, and all manner of things in progress. And Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Cast-on-itis needs its own telethon

I’m fighting a bout of cast-on-itis.

These attacks happen every year right about this time: Autumn has arrived in its full force and glory, the house’s central heat has been switched on to ease the morning chill, and I start studying my pattern books, paging through various Ravelry pattern searches, and fondling all those luscious wools in the stash.

Photo © OnceASheep

So, what started it? Last week, when barely three-quarters of the way down the cuff, I got bored with the first k3p1 sock I’m making for spouse — which, by the way, does not bode well for the second sock of the pair — and cast on for a Rowan scarf pattern I’ve admired for a couple of years.

The Wanderer Scarf by Martin Storey is huge and textured and cushiony and made with enormous yarn on enormous needles. It’s intended as a gift for a friend who lives in a cold climate. Said friend may or may not read this blog, so no further details about the giftee will be forthcoming until it arrives in its intended recipient’s hands. But the scarf will probably make an appearance or two in the WIP Wednesday Round-up, assuming I manage to get any such entries written — difficult when working full-time. As insecure as our financial position was during the recent government shut-down, I did enjoy having all that time at home to read and knit and write about reading and knitting. I’m considering it a preview of retirement.

Schaeffer ChrisSpeaking of gifts, though, that’s the other thing that brings on this annual cast-on-itis struggle. It’s getting to be the gift-giving season, when I remember all the people I put on the gift list earlier in the year and realize I haven’t made a single one. In fact, I’m two years behind. And it’s not just Christmas: in my family, we have multiple Autumn and Winter birthdays. You’d think after all these years I’d have learned to make little things — scarves and hats and mitts and socks and fancy washcloths — all throughout the year to avoid being crushed under the weight of the end-of-year obligations. But no. Lesson still not learned. Maybe next year.

Photo © Interweave LLC

Market Jacket, Photo © Interweave LLC

But, truthfully, I really want to knit something for me. Something big this time, like a cardigan or pullover. I’ve been eyeing my stash of reds, in particular, and that 1500 yards of Schaefer Chris in Pomegranate shown above is screaming at me. I think it wants to become the Market Jacket from Interweave’s November Knits. I even have buttons in stash that might work, but it wouldn’t break my heart if I had to buy new buttons. Because, well, buttons! (Have I mentioned I stash buttons as well as yarn? No? Consider it mentioned, then.)

There’s also nearly 1500 yards of burgundy alpaca that wants to become a Gathered Pullover.
Indiecita Alpaca 2020

Gathered Pullover, Photo © Interweave LLC

Gathered Pullover, Photo © Interweave LLC

So, that’s where the resistance to cast-on-itis is coming from: the urge to make a new Autumn sweater for me me me, and the simple fact that there are gifts that should require my complete and total attention. Add the guilt that I’ve recently finished three projects just for me me me… wait, one of those projects was the shrug I cast during last year’s cast-on-itis season. Ha! There’s my justification! Now to decide: the pullover or the cardigan?