Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Pattern Progress

I've made some progress on the shawl from last week, but I confess I got distracted. There's another pattern I've been wanting to write: some basic, cozy toe-up socks with one special modification. When I started knitting socks for my husband, he complained he didn't like the feel of the stitches on the bottom of his feet.

Wintersmith Progress

The solution? Turn half of the sock inside out by putting the smooth stockinette side on the inside of the sole. This idea came from a discussion with some of my favorite local knitters. The pattern will be available in three sizes (based on foot circumference) and the length is easily adjusted. My lovely test knitters are in the process of working through the pattern, and Nate will get some new monochrome socks. This yarn is Crazy Zauberball in #2100. The yarn is a bit rougher than what I usually go for, but I loved the gradient. Here's hoping I can finally get him hooked on hand-knit socks!

Shae Progress

And now back to the designing this shawl, which will hopefully be done in a couple of weeks.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Great American Afghan

At the beginning of this year, my LYS asked if I would be willing to lead a knit-along for the Great American Afghan. I had never knit an afghan before and I love knit-alongs, so I gladly said yes.


This is a great project because each of the 25 squares is by a different designer and they use very different techniques. Who knew bobbles are so fun to knit? We're doing one square each month (not in the "official" order). This month we're working on the fourth square, which is all about what they call the "button stitch." It creates an interesting raised texture.


The cover of the book shows a multi-colored afghan, but I chose to make mine all in this light silver color. I think the monochrome palette gives it a more modern look.

What are you working on? Have you ever knitted bobbles? I think they are really fun to knit, but I don't picture myself wearing them.

Want to join us? It's not too late!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Shawl to be


My love of fingering weight shawls is no secret. I snuck a couple of skeins of my Tweed Sock for myself, and they're slowly becoming a shawl pattern. We're in the swatch, knit, rip back, swatch, knit, rip back stage. Anyone feel like test-knitting a semi-circular shawl in a few weeks?


The colorway I am using is Shae, named after the courtesan from Game of Thrones. I am thrilled that Game of Thrones is back on and I'm itching to talk about what's happening. Join my Ravelry thread so we can chat!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Book Review: Little Bee and The Friday Night Knitting Club

The Derby Square Bookstore in Salem closes this month, after 39 years of selling used books. This is a huge loss for our city. Nate and I made our last visit and came home with armfuls of books, including a couple I had been curious about for a while.


The first was Little Bee by Chris Cleave, which was originally published as The Other Hand in Britain. This is the story of Little Bee, a Nigerian asylum-seeker, and Sarah O'Rourke, a magazine editor. The two meet at a Nigerian beach during the oil conflict. Apart from being a commentary on asylum protocol and the treatment of refugees, it is also a study of human compassion and selflessness. It explores the concept of "how far would you go to save another person?" in a very extreme scenario.

I found this to be a good book, even if some portions were graphic and difficult to read. In the end though, after much build up, the ending was a bit sudden and underdeveloped. Did you read this book? What did you think?


The second book was The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs. I felt like I inevitably needed to read it at some point, and for 75% off I couldn't pass it up.

The premise was cute and centered around the protagonist, who owns a yarn shop and makes custom hand-knit couture pieces, and her young daughter. The plot was a bit predictable but sweet. I wouldn't call this a great book, but it's a fun light read. The one element I really disliked was the overdone attempts at using knitting concepts as metaphors for life at the beginning of each major plot section.


If you've read it, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Have you read anything you loved recently? I'm always looking for recommendations!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Stagnation and Rust

Well hello there. Here we are, almost a month of silence. March was a super busy month for me, with the North Shore Yarn Crawl, the collaboration with Thea, and an anniversary event at JP Knit & Stitch. But in the middle of the bustle I also started to feel a growing weight, and a creeping sense of stagnation. Then my friend Liz of Made in Lowell started talking about clutter busting.

Her post resonated with me so much that it felt like I had written these words myself: "I have always been what I consider a pack-rat. I knew I collected too much stuff, but I didn't understand how living with so much stuff that I didn’t love or use was crushing my spirit, quietly, daily." She talked about her positive experiences with Brooks Palmer in re-evaluating the objects in her life. This is the part that really got to me: "Brooks tells us that when we start to let clutter go, any amount, it creates room in our heads for new ideas to come in. That clutter, even clutter hidden away in boxes or closets, emits a low distracting hum that fogs our thinking, saps our energy, and makes decisions difficult." And so I realized that I had to come to terms with my own truth: we moved into our home 4 years ago, but gave up on the process when we became overwhelmed by clutter. We sort of hid it away, and lived with boxes of unknown stuff weighing on us. I did something I hadn't done in years: I put my knitting down for a full 8 days, and started sorting and purging. I tackled all the boxes I had been so afraid of. We've taken away several carloads to donation centers. The work is far from done, but I finally feel the fog lifting. I've picked up my knitting needles again, but I am working on the clutter daily. It feels great. If you're looking for a push to get some purging done too, Liz did a great interview with Brooks.


So with much ado, here is what I am working on. My love of wool is no secret, but this spring I am allowing myself to play with some different fibers. I'm embracing my affection for rusty colors and doing two projects in similar tones. The first is with Quince and Co.'s new linen, Sparrow. This color is Paprika, and I'm working on the Lida shawl, which is also by Quince and Co. I admit I miss the natural friction of wool whenever I put this project down and the stitches slide off my needles, but the linen is lovely and has been softening up the more I work with it. I look forward to wearing this soon.


Right now it looks like a scrunchy mess, but I have faith that it will be perfect after a good soak and block.

This week I start my second rust-colored project. I am re-evaluating my dislike of knitting with cotton to work on a Spring Garden Tee. If you're local, I am leading a knit-along for this project, which you can check out here. This week I'll be doing every knitter's favorite activity: gauge swatching (and if you're one of my students: I know it's boring, but it's important. Trust me.). This yarn is Cascade Ultra Pima cotton, also in Paprika.